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Bed Tax Dollars Secure Beachfront Property for Public Beach Access



July 17, 2017


Santa Rosa Beach, FL – On Tuesday evening, July 11, The Walton County Board of County Commissioners approved the purchase by Visit South Walton of a beachfront parcel for $1,537,500. The property, at 907 Scenic Gulf Drive, is directly adjacent to a property purchased by Visit South Walton earlier this year. The additional parcel expands the total frontage of the to-be-constructed new regional beach access to 410 feet. Included with the newly purchased parcel is a structure, allowing Visit South Walton to build a bathhouse facility without limiting the existing Gulf views from Scenic Gulf Drive. The agreed on price for the property is $50,000 below the average appraised value for the property.

“This property adds beachfront to South Walton’s planned regional beach accesses,” says Visit South Walton Executive Director Jay Tusa. “Our goal is to ensure continued ease of beach access in South Walton so both locals and visitors can experience our beautiful beaches.”

Since August 2016 Visit South Walton has purchased seven beachfront parcels for a total of 747 feet of beachfront to be used as three new regional access points, along with a 7.35-acre inland property that currently serves as additional parking in the Grayton Beach area. The total spend for these properties is $25.6 million. When the newly purchased beachfront properties open as regional beach accesses, the total number of regional beach access points in South Walton will rise from seven to 10. Each regional beach access point includes parking, bathroom facilities, and a lifeguard station. The three new regional beach access points will be located in Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, and Dune Allen Beach.

The properties were purchased and will be maintained using bed tax dollars, a 4 percent tax collected on short term rentals. The bed taxes for May of 2017 are up 7 percent over the same time period in 2016, with the year to date total up 11 percent. Bed taxes provide a good indication of visitor demand, as they are influenced both by number of visitors and the average daily rates of short term rentals.

About South Walton:

Located along a 26-mile stretch of white sandy beaches in Northwest Florida, South Walton encompasses 16 distinct beach neighborhoods, each with its own visual style, amenities and charm. South Walton is home to four state parks, one state forest, and more than 200 miles of hiking and biking trails. Renowned for natural scenic beauty, turquoise waters and sugar sand beaches, South Walton was named one of the “Secret Florida Beaches” by Travel + Leisure, but is easily accessible as a drive to destination or by flying to nearby airports Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) or the Destin – Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS). An upscale, yet casual place to unwind, South Walton is the place to recharge and build lasting memories. Learn more at VisitSouthWalton.com or follow Visit South Walton on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.