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Destin resort proposal gets mixed reactions
DESTIN -- It could mean hundreds of new jobs.
But some neighbors have mixed feelings about a proposed hotel and convention center in Destin.
The hotel would be built just north of the Henderson Park Inn on Scenic Highway 98.
Laura Hussey "The Henderson Park Inn has been part of the scenery in Destin's Crystal Beach neighborhood for as long as some people can remember. If a new resort from the owners of the Inn keeps moving forward, that scenery could be changing"
The Crystal Beach neighborhood sits right by the gulf.
Lisa and Rudy Ringel bought their place because of the natural beauty and quaint character.
Lisa Ringel "The white beaches, and you'll notice this is a two-story, we're kind of anti-big condo"
The Henderson Beach Resort Parkside Hotel would be built across the street from the original inn.
Developers say it would have up to 180 rooms, a convention center, restaurant and spa.
Shaun Hickey "Gut response would be a significant increase to traffic, plus people would tend to speed through the neighborhood and put people at risk"
Shaun Hickey worries a major influx of tourists would change the quality of his neighborhood.
But he says economic factors must be considered.
Shaun "There's a lot of young people who need jobs here, decent paying jobs"
Developers are planning a 5-star resort they say will create more than 300 direct jobs, and 400 during construction.
They were given preliminary approval for an even larger project, but those plans are tied up because of a lawsuit over the city's development code.
Until that's resolved, they're trying to build what they can, and convince neighbors their project will fit in.
Lisa Ringel "This is where people come and relax. I don't want to be surrounded by a bazillion people, so this is where you want to come and relax and just enjoy family. I want to be able to see the beach"
Laura Hussey "While the council has recommended a zoning change that will enable the project to move forward, developers still have a number of requirements to meet before they get the final go-ahead."