News Column

New attraction 'very Americana' that won't attract 'rowdy crowd'

May 22, 2014

By Kari C. Barlow, Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach



May 22--DESTIN -- Imagine wrapping up a day of shopping at Destin Commons with a sunset spin on a Ferris wheel.

That's the vision Chuck Fuller and his business partners have for the vacant, 2.9-acre lot just north of Belk.

Fuller's company, the Destin-based P & R Wyant Farms LLC, plans to build a small amusement park called Crabby Island Fun Park on the parcel, which is not on Destin Commons property.

See architectural renderings of the park. >>

See what the rides look like. >>

"We want it to be very picturesque and very Americana," Fuller said. "We've stayed away from anything that will attract a rowdy crowd."

Okaloosa County Growth Management Director Elliot Kampert said Crabby Island is consistent with the area's zoning.

"It's basically 13 rides and the tallest of which is the Ferris wheel, which is going to be 60 feet," he said. "And that zoning district allows 75 feet. They're 15 feet lower than what they could be."

Among the 13 rides will be a kid-sized roller coaster, a giant slide and a merry-go-round. The $1.5 million project also features a ticket booth, concession stand, gift shop and restrooms.

Fuller said the goal is for Crabby Island -- which is in the middle of the permitting process -- to complement the look and feel of Destin Commons.

But some nearby residents have questioned whether that's possible and if it will be too noisy.

"Destin, to me and a lot of people around here, represents emerald waters and white beaches," said Nancy Engle Gordon, who lives in a condo across the street from Destin Commons. "I always thought amusement parks would be good for places where you don't have a wonderful beach."

Gordon said she understands "the need for people to make money off their property" but isn't convinced the park is appropriate for that location.

Fuller said Crabby Island will have a low-key vibe, with shady areas where families can relax.

"We're going to have pleasant boardwalk-type music playing in the background," he said. "There's no alcoholic beverages. We have carnival style finger foods -- that's all."

Contact Daily News Staff Writer Kari C. Barlow at 850-315-4438 or kbarlow@nwfdailynews.com. Follow her on Twitter @KariBnwfdn.

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(c)2014 the Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.)

Visit the Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.) at www.nwfdailynews.com

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Source: Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach)


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