Walton County Commissioners say more work needs to be done before Freeport can use a grant from FDOT to build a bridge. They also lifted a county-wide burn ban.

DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — Commissioners aren’t quite ready to let Freeport use a grant to build a bridge.


During a Walton County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Freeport city officials presented the board with a plan to remove a culvert and build a bridge over Bear Creek, located on Bay Loop Road, using an $850,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.


The pitch included using the grant, with the city being responsible for up to $50,000 extra — if needed — and the county picking up the remainder.


However, a price for the project wasn’t listed.


“This is a situation that (would have) been a lot better if the city and the county had worked together,” commissioner Bill Chapman said.


Since commissioners weren’t sure how much the county would need to pay, they denied the request.


“I do think that it needs to be stressed that (the) bridge needs to be replaced at some point, and we don’t want to lose $850,000,” commissioner Danny Glidewell added.


According to county spokesman Louis Svehla, the board also wasn’t given a deadline to use the grant.


He said the project wouldn’t gain any momentum until an estimated cost was determined.


“(Commissioners) want to continue working with Freeport to try and get a formula in place for how that will actually be handled (and) who would pay for what if there’s overage,” he added.


Looking ahead, the first meeting in November is expected to be the earliest commissioners would revisit the topic.


During the meeting, commissioners also decided to lift the county-wide burn ban.


Svehla said the decision was based on information from local fire departments and the Florida Forest Service.


For more information on future meetings, visit www.co.walton.fl.us.