A Walton County resident continues to fight for a fishing pier to be built locally despite two previously failed attempts to persuade the County Commission.


Richard Loverne started campaigning for the pier in December of 2016, when he bought ads in local newspapers (including The Walton Sun) that promoted the idea of building a pier in Walton County and asked residents to send back mail-in responses in a short survey.

He received 136 responses, 105 in favor of the pier and presented his results to Walton County commissioners at a meeting in February of 2017, along with areas he thought the pier could be built, including Deer Lake, Grayton Beach and Topsail.

“When I went before the Board of Commissioners, Bill Chapmen said ‘I’m not putting that on the ballot,’ and the rest of the commissioners just sat there like lumps on a log,” Loverne said.

However, Louis Svehla, Walton County's public information manager, said that most of the areas Loverne recommended were in state parks and not in the county's jurisdiction.

Loverne went before the board again on May 8 of this year urging commissioners to take a countywide vote. Instead of putting the idea on the ballot, they decided to post an online survey that more than 1,600 people completed.

“The margin between yes and no was literally like seven or 11 votes, so it was like 50.1 percent yes and 49.9 percent no, so I definitely don’t think it's going to be built, at least not anytime soon, based on the direction the board gave,” Svehla said.

Svehla added that if the board had received overwhelming support for the pier, moving forward with plans to developing one would have been taken into immediate consideration. However, since the voting percentages were so close, they are keeping an open mind for the future.

“As a force of one, I’m trying my best,” Loverne said. “If the people vote for it, then do it. But if the vote comes out that the people don’t want a fishing pier, then I submit myself to the will of the people and the people have spoken.”