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Fort Walton Beach Boardwalk expansion paid for by BP grant
FORT WALTON BEACH -- A 4.6 million dollar BP grant is coming to Fort Walton Beach, to pay for an expanded Boardwalk on Santa Rosa Sound.
The money will bring life to a project that's been on the drawing board for years.
Laura Hussey "At Liza Jackson Park, you'll see lots of educational signs like this when you walk along the Boardwalk. The setup at Liza Jackson gives you an idea of what the bigger project would be like."
For Nicole Anderson and her daughter Summer, a day in the park starts on the swingset, and always ends on the Boardwalk.
Nicole Anderson "We walk from here to where the ducks and the birds are sitting in the water, and we sit on the edge, look at the ducks. Sometime we've even caught the sun setting."
Bill Watson drives all the way from Miramar Beach to stroll along the sound.
Bill Watson "I love the park, it's a nice place to walk and get some exercise, get some sun on a nice warm day."
For years, city planners have visualized a Boardwalk that would run almost two miles, from Liza Jackson Park all the way to the Brooks Bridge.
Now with a BP natural resource damage assessment grant, they can pay for it.
Nicole "Awesome, just awesome. It would be beautiful"
The grant will be finalized after the Department of Environmental Protection holds two public hearings later this month.
It's part of a hundred million dollars set aside to help the gulf coast recover from the oil spill.
Anderson hopes the Boardwalk will bring more people close to the wonders of nature. The ones she's teaching her daughter to cherish.
Nicole "I think it's a time for us to remember and reflect on how easy it is for nature to be affected by what man is doing today. So I think it will be a good remembering point, and a good memorial."
Laura Hussey "After final DEP approval, there's still more preparation to be done. Ideally construction would begin late in 2015."