To pier or not to pier — it appears not: Fishing pier at Grayton Beach State Park dead after outcry

Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 04:32 PM.

With rumors circulating wildly that plans are underway to construct a fishing pier and two-level parking deck at Grayton Beach , South Walton residents went up in arms last week.

Facebook came alive with posts about the potential endeavor, and most were against.

"Absurd!" said long-time Seagrove resident Billy McConnell.

Paul Vizard of 30A TV concurred. "Against it. Firstly, BP funds are designed for restoration, not new ventures. Secondly, a monstrous boil on this pristine landscape will bring nothing but problems, hurt wildlife from tangled fishing lines around the pier poles, litter, and the cost of upkeep. Grayton's attraction is the old-town Florida feel, that’s already been eroded from Seagrove, Seacrest and Inlet Beach. If a pier is a 'must have' for Walton, put it at Whale's Tail in Miramar," he said.

After years in the discussion phase, the pier project emerged as a flashpoint recently as Walton County’s Board of County Commissioners considered a list of projects that could be funded with BP settlement dollars.

Commissioner Cindy Meadows posted on Facebook: "This is a project proposed by the former BCC. The cost is $20 million plus maintenance plus replacement costs after a storm. I think we can spend any funds received resulting from the oil spill on many other more worthy sustainable projects.”

In a phone interview with The Sun, Meadows said the BCC ranked the pier and parking garage in 2011 as its No. 1 project to be funded with part of the funds that came from the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process resulting from the BP oil spill.

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