Public Information Office
Walton County Board of County Commissioners
The Future Starts Today
Walton County, September 25, 2023 - Stormwater is rainwater that typically runs off streets, lawns, and buildings. Ideally, it is absorbed into the ground to replenish aquifers or flows into nearby rivers and streams. However, areas where there are many impervious surfaces (pavement, roofs, etc.) can prevent natural absorption and lead to flooding, erosion, damage to infrastructure and other problems.
Stormwater runoff is a big issue in South Walton due to the high density and low elevation. In response, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) purchased 220 acres of property on Chat Holley Road to specifically collect runoff from nearby properties and help relieve many of the stormwater issues in that area.
District 5 Commissioner Tony Anderson pointed to new grant funds obtained with help from Environmental Resources Coordinator Melinda Gates that will allow the county to address stormwater runoff on additional roads, as well as paving some roads.
“It will give us a couple more accesses from Chat Holley Road to US 98 and one from Chat Holley all the way to CR-30A,” said Commissioner Anderson.
According to Melinda Gates, the county received $14.8 million in the grant funds and the improvements will also include mosquito control ditches and yet it is designed to prevent flooding at the site. The stormwater retention will help keep Choctawhatchee Bay cleaner and help preserve the natural wetlands.
Containing more than merely a stormwater retention pond, the site will also be user-friendly. “We’re going to have some parks and recreation equipment out there; some multi-use fields, hopefully some pickleball courts and basketball courts – things the community really needs,” said Commissioner Anderson. “It’s going to be a multi-use park/stormwater facility, with walking trails, which has already been approved by the state.”
Anderson was quick to praise county staff for their diligent efforts to bring this project to fruition. “This is all because of the wonderful staff we have; all of our engineers – Chance Powell, Charlie Cotton, Anna Hudson, Gregory Graham – the whole engineering crew. Melinda Gates is a miracle-worker at finding (grant) money. She is a humble person and doesn’t like me talking about how good she is all the time, but she is really a great county employee.”
Regarding the timeline for the various phases, Commissioner Anderson said the first step will be getting the stormwater captured. “Then we can start doing some of the recreational things out there, the TDC can start their plans that they need to do out there,” he said. “The facilities, we can probably start on those next year. The completion date is scheduled for 2026. It’s a big project and it’s going to take numerous years to complete, but unless you take the first step, it will never get completed.”
For more information, please contact the Public Information Office at (850) 892-8155 or email@example.com.
District 5 Commissioner Tony Anderson