The city of Destin is a thriving tourist destination where much of the local economy revolves around waterfront resorts and activities. While the white sands and aquamarine sea draw tourists in numbers that can double the population at times, some Destin residents lack consistent waterfront access in their neighborhoods. Additionally, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill significantly impacted residents’ ability to enjoy the waterfront in their communities.
To address these community needs, Kimley-Horn partnered with The Trust for Public Land, land planning and landscape architecture firm Wood+Partners, Inc., and architecture consulting firm DAG Architects to create Captain Leonard Destin Park. The multidisciplinary team also partnered with the Florida Environmental Protection Agency to utilize post-oil spill restoration funds, prioritizing environmental and historical preservation, beach access, and the inclusion of park features identified through community participatory design.
Kimley-Horn provided the following services for this creative community project:
- Site civil engineering
- Structural engineering
- Water/wastewater services
- Site grading
- Utility layouts
- Structural design of in-water elements
The finished park employs sustainable design elements, water-evocative features, and historical interpretive elements that support education and the community’s heritage. The team chose features and materials with a mind for environmental preservation and utilized sustainable stormwater treatment methods. Additionally, accessibility was a key goal in park design, and the team ensured that Captain Leonard Destin Park’s boardwalks, walkways, and pier access were ADA compliant and built for inclusion.
Amenities and park features include an open-air picnic pavilions, a heron rookery, splash pad, boardwalks, walkways, pier, and educational placards about the history of city founder Captain Leonard Destin and his homestead. The features and choices made in the park’s design reflect identified desires and needs of the community and help provide access to water-based recreation after the devastating oil spill. Widely recognized for its creative and intentional design, Captain Leonard Destin Park emphasizes a connection to history, community, and the natural world.