County to get millions for parks, boat ramps, shoreline



Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 02:26 PM.

Franklin County’s shoreline and bay, and seven of its parks and boat ramps will be the big beneficiaries as the county landed millions of dollars in proposed Gulf Coast restoration projects last week.

The official announcement came Friday during an event at the Panama City Marina. The money comes as part of a 2011 BP settlement, which yielded $1 billion for early restoration projects. The dollars unveiled Dec. 6 were part of phase III of early restoration projects

In May, the state announced $58 million in phase III projects, but then got an extra $88 million, with 28 proposed projects benefiting Florida’s eight counties most affected by the oil spill.

Alabama, Florida Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas all received $100 million, while federal agencies received $200 million and $300 million was set aside for additional state-proposed restoration projects. The projects are part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Herschel Vinyard was on hand Friday to tout the NRDA projects and what they could accomplish.

“The philosophy that I have is: For us to have a healthy economy … you’ve got to have a healthy environment,” he said. “Nowhere else is this exhibited as much as right here in the Panhandle where the economy is so tied to the natural beauty that we have.”

Franklin County’s parks and boat ramps would get $1.78 million and Bald Point State Park $470,800, with another $262,989 for a Sand Beach boardwalk and improvements at Cash Bayou.

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