Navarre Park Renovations Finally underway after delays

*Pensacola News Journal  |  Annie Blanks  |  11.6.20

Navarre Park's $3.3 million in renovations finally underway after more
than a year of delays

With time running out, construction crews finally are hard at work on $3.3 million in renovations at Navarre Park following more than a year of delays.

Contractors have just fewer than 270 days left to complete the first of the massive three-phase project. The renovations for the seven-acre park were first approved by County Commissioners in 2016, although work didn’t begin until last month. Contractors had barely gotten on site when Hurricane Sally hit on Sept. 16, causing substantial damage to the park.

“They (the contractor) may have mobilized and done a few small things (before Sally), but nothing much,” said Michael Schmidt, the environmental director for Santa Rosa County. “We asked them to hold off on starting the project until we could get our crews in there to clean up the park, because their contract had nothing to do with hurricane damage.”

The small pier leading into Santa Rosa Sound was destroyed in Sally’s storm surge, and strong winds and flooding brought piles of debris over the seawall and scattered them throughout the park. But District 4 Commissioner Dave Piech said county public works crews were able to fix the damage relatively quickly, and the contractor was able to get back on site after about three weeks.

Since then, the contractor has been busy laying the groundwork for the extensive renovations, including taking down the memorial brick and tile displays and removing the existing retention pond to make room for a larger one. The ducks and turtles in the retention pond have been moved.  

“They cleared all the critters that were in the retention pond, they were relocated under the supervision of the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). They were moved to another county-owned pond, and their staff is monitoring and feeding them,” Piech said.

The first phase of the Navarre Park renovations include:

Demolishing the existing butterfly house, splash pad, playground, basketball court and duck pond

  • Constructing a parking expansion
  • Constructing walkways, lighting, landscaping, new seawall and waterfront plaza
  • Constructing a splash pad, playground, restrooms and landscaping

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