Destin’s Mayor, City Council, staff, and special guests will host a ribbon cutting and grand opening of Destin’s newest park, Captain Leonard Destin, on Thursday, May 13, 2021, at 10 a.m. Named after the original founder of the City of Destin
who came from New London, Connecticut, in the mid-1800s to establish a fishing village along the Florida Gulf Coast, the park is located on the same plot of land as the original homestead of its namesake.
“The allure of East Pass that brought Leonard Destin here almost 200 years ago still exists today, it’s why each of us have chosen Destin to be our home. Six generations after Leonard built his homestead here, I’m beyond privileged to be a part of the City’s efforts to preserve a part of our shared heritage and identity in perpetuity,” stated former Councilman Parker Destin.
Mayor Gary Jarvis stated, “Captain Leonard Destin Park is a true jewel of our City that not only represents our heritage but also honors the founding of the commercial fishing industry which is very much a part of our livelihood today. We are excited to have this world class park for all to enjoy.”
In 2015, The Trust for Public Land purchased the 3.42-acre property with Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment early restoration funds with a vision to create a park for the public, provide public access to the water and help preserve the history of the community.
“Outdoor spaces like Captain Leonard Destin Park offer opportunities for outdoor recreation, improve public access to Florida’s natural resources, and celebrate the unique character and history of Florida’s communities,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “Immersion in Florida’s natural beauty and increased educational opportunities creates generations of Floridians who will protect and perpetuate Florida’s way of life.”
In August of 2020, The Trust for Public Land transferred the park to the City along with operations and maintenance funds for 10 years.
“We were thrilled to work with FL DEP and the City of Destin to create this unique and beautiful park for all to enjoy,” stated Kate Brown, Senior Project Manager, The Trust for Public Land. The park includes an accessible beach area, boardwalk, playground, bathrooms, a splash pad, pavilions, dock, and paddle board/kayak launch. The park is also home to a heron rookery along with educational signage highlighting over 150 years of history and natural features of the park.
The park is located at 101 Calhoun Avenue and members of the community are invited to attend and follow social distancing guidelines.