DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — Walton County Commissioners on Tuesday discussed funding for different projects around the county.

Approved contributions included $55,000 from the county Tourist Development Council. Of that amount, $40,000 will go toward the Cultural Arts Alliance's Underwater Museum of Art and $15,000 will support Main Street DeFuniak Springs' Main Street Christmas Program.

Jay Evans, director of the Main Street group, said the organization hopes to establish more events at local businesses — separate from the yearly spectacle of Christmas lights — to give visitors more reasons to stick around.

"What we've noticed is that many times those people are not staying and enjoying the rest of our community." Evans said.

Now in its second year, the Underwater Museum of Art is set to install 12 new sculptures this Thursday.

These selections will be submerged in about 60 feet of water about a mile off the coast of Grayton Beach State Park.

"This is a unique project as far as there aren't many of these around," Commissioner Danny Glidewell said. "I'll support it, but I ain't going down there."

Also discussed was how well the reef has withstood Mother Nature.

Andy McAlexander, president of the South Walton Artificial Reef Association, said that out of the seven already installed sculptures, only one was damaged during Hurricane Michael. He added that all of them have remained in place.

"They should never end up on our beaches," McAlexander said.

Other funding approved by commissioners included more than $124,000 — temporarily financed by the Public Works Department until another source is found — for the second phase of an improvement project at Grady Brown Park. Nearly $300,000 was also redirected from a Gulf Hills Estates Improvement project to be used for a drainage improvement project at Western Lake.

For more information or to watch commission meetings live, visit www.co.walton.fl.us.