MIRAMAR BEACH — Walton County officials are flirting with the idea of buying the at least a portion of The Golf Garden property on U.S. Highway 98 to build a recreational facility.
Following ongoing property appraisals, officials plan to negotiate a deal with The Golf Garden's owner and relay the information to county commissioners.
If purchased, the 35-acre proerpty would be used to develop more green space in the southeastern portion of the county, county spokesman Louis Svehla said.
However, there are no definite plans for what amenities would be offered.
"We're the fastest growing county in the state and one of the fastest in the country," said Svehla, who added more recreation areas are always good. "We lack these types of resources, and we're trying to keep up with that."
Svehla also said the Golf Gardens owner was interested in keeping the front 10 acres adjacent to U.S. 98
During a recent ribbon cutting for another county project, County Commissioner Bill Chapman told the Daily News, "I'm not going to support purchasing it if we can't get the seller to agree to give us at least a minimum of a 60-foot right of way through there, from 98 up to that parcel."
He believed an additional traffic light would be necessary if the commission decides to buy the property and build a facility.
In previous discussions between the county and the Florida Department of Transportation, a traffic light was only warranted at the intersection of Driftwood Road and U.S. 98 — the closest intersection to the property — if a connector road was installed from the highway to Walton Way.
Chapman hopes the FDOT might reconsider if a recreation center was built.
"We'll try to work around that," he said. "There's still going to be an impact. ... It's still going to warrant a light."
As far as the county building the connector if FDOT doesn't budge, Chapman said, "I would suspect it'd be discussed."
With much to be done if commissioners decide to buy the property, Chapman said construction probably wouldn't begin for at least two years.
"If we secure the property, then we will start doing the analysis and seeing what is best to go out there for an amenity," he said.