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Salinas Park addition a ‘showcase’

Tim Croft
tcroft@starfl.com
The Star

When the initial artist renderings of the additions coming to the bayside Salinas Park a year or so ago, it would have been hard to believe the finished project would outdo the photos.

You know, picture worth 1,000 words and all that.

But indeed the finished product wasn’t done justice by the renderings.

With the park addition officially conveyed to the county, and people kind of just stepping around the barricades around the addition to check it all out, county staff took down the barricades last week.

Wow.

“The new addition is absolutely amazing,” said resident John Sellers, who also supplied these photos. “The addition is fantastic and many people will enjoy it for years to come.”

The Salinas expansion includes hiking trails and an elevated boardwalk with overlooks on St. Joseph Bay and informational signs focused on preserving seagrasses and the natural resources those who live here sometimes take for granted.

There is a new playground, new pickleball courts across the road on the gulf side of Salinas Park (already in use), water fountains, misting stations and new restrooms.

In short, this is a stunning addition to the county’s parks, without a dime spent by the county on the project.

In fact, once the additional amenities were completed, the new land and additions were conveyed to the county in perpetuity along with maintenance money for the next 10 years.

“It is a beautiful park,” said Assistant County Administrator Warren Yeager. “It will be a showcase for the county and the people who use it for a long time.”

Yeager added that an official ribbon cutting will take place before the end of January.

The Salinas Park expansion and amenities were gifted to the county through collaboration with the Trust for Public Land and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The land, just over seven acres, was purchased from the Patronis Family Trust; the Patronis family operates Capt. Anderson’s and has been in the seafood business for generations.

The Trust for Public Land facilitated the purchase of the land and, after public workshops, determined a vision for the new amenities and underwrote and oversaw the project.