Santa Rosa County is redeveloping the existing Navarre Park to create a top-notch recreational experience for all ages and abilities. The park, located at 8543 Navarre Parkway, will be renovated in three phases. Construction of Phase 1 is expected to be completed in the summer of 2021.
Enhancements to the park include an interactive splash pad, ADA accessible restroom facilities, playgrounds for two age groups, a plaza with shade structures, maintenance building, park building, expanded parking, landscaping and stormwater improvements. The budget for Phase 1 is $3.3 million and is funded by a combination of local option sales tax funds, District 4 recreation funds, tourist development tax fund and general funds. The Phase 1 construction area is located to the east of the Visitors Information Center, which will remain open along with the park amenities to the west of the building.
“We have all been anxiously awaiting the renovation of Navarre Park and I’m sure that the new park will be a great attraction for residents as well as visitors for many years to come,” said Commissioner Dave Piech, District 4. “We ask that people exercise patience and caution by staying clear of the construction area for the safety of themselves and the workers.”
As part of the initial groundwork, the cement walls with hand-painted tiles was removed. The recovered tiles are available for the public to pick up at the Visitors Information Center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through the end of the month. Photos of the tiles which were unable to be removed are available on the District 4 Facebook page
. Additionally, the memorial brick pavers and benches were removed and will be stored for future use.
In the coming weeks, the county’s environmental staff will relocate a mix of approximately 50 red-eared and yellow-bellied sliders, river cooters and Florida soft-shelled turtles from the park’s drainage pond. As they are an invasive species, the red-eared sliders will be rehomed with a certified wildlife rehabber, permitted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC). The remaining turtles will be relocated to a county-owned, fenced pond near East Bay that is approximately the same size, with vegetation and open areas for basking. County staff has coordinated with the FWCC on the authorized procedures for their relocation and will monitor the turtles in their new habitat. The Muscovy ducks, which are also an invasive species, have been rehomed to a private landowner’s pond in coordination with the FWCC’s wildlife rehabber.
The construction zone of Navarre Park is closed to all persons except state/county officials and the contractor’s crews as a measure of safety for both the workers and the public. It is a third-degree felony to enter into a construction zone punishable by a $5,000 fine.