While all polled were united in their excitement over the possibility of embracing three red-and-white striped umbrellas, those same people were not so united on the topic of if the community needs a sports complex, and where one should be located.
"A sports complex is not needed," said Chick Huettel. "It's a waste of money. All the schools have sports facilities plus Helen McCall Park for the public, plus the new Boys & Girls Club off 331. But if they want to spend the money, it should be located at Moll Road at Helen McCall Park or out near the Chelco office building on Highway 98."
Former Walton County Citizens Services Director Ken Little said he is also ambivalent on the need for another sports complex.
"There’s already the Morgan complex in Destin, Frank Brown Park to our east in Panama City Beach, but more importantly, the Freeport Regional Sports Complex at Hammock Bay. It’s a great venue that we need to support. I understand that lodging might be an issue for Freeport right now, but there’s no reason why folks couldn’t come and stay in South Walton and commute the short 11 miles to Freeport for sports events. The Bay is not an insurmountable obstacle, and we need to quit letting it divide our county," he said.
Valerie Lofton and her young son are very excited about the possibility of a sports complex, but says although it would be more convenient for them if it is located somewhere south of the bridge, she thinks Freeport would benefit if it was placed in that direction.
Richard Fowlkes just wants it kept off 30A and out of state lands.
"The Boys and Girls Club ended up in a good spot. We should be able to do the same with the sports complex," he said.
The Boys and Girls Club is located on Greenway Trail, close to South Walton High School.
David Bludworth also feels it should be located near the high school, as does Allison Yii.
"I would love the complex at that location closest to the dog park/library area. It has good access and is a good middle ground," said Yii.
Malcolm Patterson offered his insight by saying, "If TDC funds are going to be used to build a sports complex, I do not think it wise. Bay County (Panama City) has spent millions on such a complex and it seems to be quite successful. But they have things Walton does not. They have an established program that they have spent years developing. And most important is they have affordable lodging.”
“Walton has, for many years, targeted the up-scale population. Folks that travel with sports teams look for cheap lodging,” he added. “I don’t think Walton has much to offer in this price range. It would take several hundred units to house enough participants to make such a venture successful. That's not going to happen anytime in the near future. And it must be tourist related to qualify for TDC funds. Local participation would not qualify for TDC funding. But if it were to be funded from the General Fund, it would be a great idea.”