Long in the making, and delayed due to Hurricane Michael, the county’s Lombardi Waterfront Park and Museum is about to open.

County Coordinator Michael Morón told commissioners that a “substantial” inspection was completed Friday, which means the project, located about four miles west of Apalachicola off U.S. 98, is on track for a final inspection this Friday, April 5.

In anticipation of the Thursday morning, April 18 ribbon cutting, Commissioner Smokey Parrish moved, and the commission unanimously approved, a motion to name the park after the late Olin B. “Buddy” Ward, a longtime seafood dealer who operated 13 Mile Seafood for many years. The name Lombardi had been used to refeer to a former seafood house that once operated on the property.

“It is beautiful, it is something to be very proud of,” said Morón. “I know it’s a long time coming. I know we’ve taken a lot of criticism.”

Parrish noted that an entire year has passed since the project neared completion. “It’s just been one thing after another,” he said. “It will be advantageous to the public.”

The new park includes a museum, which will feature a small theatre room where the public can learn more about the history of the county’s seafood industry.

The entire roughly $713,000 in funding for the design, construction and administrative costs of the park came from a legal settlement with British Petroleum based on the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The commissioners opted against opening the park ahead of the April 18 ribbon cutting.

I would prefer we have the final inspection first,” said Morón.

“I know the public is ready,” said Parrish.