The Beach Blast Triathlon, a staple in the county since 2005, will move to the El Governor Motel in Mexico Beach for the fall race.

The Beach Blast Triathlon, a staple in the county since 2005, will move to the El Governor Motel in Mexico Beach for the fall race.

The spring triathlon was held at El Governor due to construction at Veterans Memorial Park at Beacon Hill, but after a less-than-enthusiastic response from commissioners concerning holding the fall race, scheduled for Sept. 9, organizer Olga Cemore decided to move the race back to Bay County.

“Gulf County Commissioners decided that we are not welcome at Beacon Hill Park anymore,” Cemore said in an email early Wednesday morning.

“Thankfully, the city of Mexico Beach, MB Police Department and local CDC Office, El Governor Motel, volunteers and businesses welcome us with open arms.”

Cemore appeared before the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday to ask for a decision with the date of the fall triathlon looming.

She said if the park was not ready, she would move the race, but hoped that with the construction completed and the park open she could proceed.

Cemore noted that event attracts roughly 250 athletes and 300 attendees altogether.

The Beach Blast, spring and fall, have been part of the calendar, and located at the Beacon Hill park, since 2005.

“It is a really nice event,” said parks director Billy Traylor. “People come from all around and they stay more than one night.”

Commissioners, however, noted they continue working on a new policy for use of county parks, a policy significantly focused on the refurbished Veterans Memorial Park.

The park was re-dedicated earlier this year after renovations funded by an $800,000 grant.

That policy, county attorney Jeremy Novak said, would likely to be put in front of commissioners next month.

In her email, Cemore noted that there were a pair of events to be held in the park this weekend; one of those is the Captain's party for the annual Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association Kingfish Tournament.

Commission chair Ward McDaniel said Tuesday he had “never been a big supporter” of the triathlon, which spans a single Saturday morning, adding it is a for-profit event.

Sheriff Mike Harrison interjected that Cemore foots the bill for an off-duty deputy and Cemore added she also pays to have EMS on site.

McDaniel expressed concern about traffic, but as discussion unfolded what emerged was a concern pertaining to damage to newly-planted grassy areas.

The sticking point was that grassy area would be needed as a transition area for the bike portion of the race, but Commissioner Jimmy Rogers and McDaniel said the triathlon would have to move to another part of the park.

Commissioners charged Cemore with working with Traylor on a solution.

Cemore was clearly frustrated as she left the meeting.

Of course the event was for-profit, she invests more than $10,000 for each triathlon.

What difference should that make, she wondered.

She said she and Traylor had already walked the park and discussed the options, adding she could not see a way to keep the event in Beacon Hill given constraints placed on it by commissioners.

“You improve a park but you don’t want anybody to use it?” Cemore wondered. “I am bringing people here, doing what the TDC is supposed to do.

“It does not make sense.”