On November 9th, 2022, Brian Kellenberger Director of Beach Operations at the Walton County Tourism Department held a public meeting at the South Walton Annex regarding the Grayton Beach Community Center. IMAGES AND VIDEO BELOW.
This project was born from a years old discussion to bring a public restroom to Grayton Beach. During the projects evolution the Grayton Beach entertainment district came to life and the public parking and transportation plan was also implemented.
Naturally the public restroom idea evolved with the evolution of the Grayton Beach area.
The facility is modeled with our history and environment in mind. The lattice like roof is a hat tip to our WWII flight training roots, on the beach sat pyramid structures to help pilots navigate the area. And the amongst the dunes construction is not only functional it’s perfect for the ecological education that will take place during the visitor experience.
While designing the project the engineers quickly realized they would have to build an extensive boardwalk structure if the facility were to be elevated above the dunes – robbing the community of the natural beauty that is on display. This was the key driver to nestle the Community Center among the dunes in a natural depression on site.
The amongst the dunes design presented a perfect opportunity to use the architecture to showcase the history and ecological zones of the area in which it occupies. From Hotz Avenue a visitor will be welcomed with our area’s history and as they walk into the dune the education will transition to the dune environment ending with an arrival to the Community Center. As the visitors leave the Community Center and make their way to the beach Coastal education will continue to the beach boardwalk.
Architect, Tony Vallee of McWhorter Vallee Design Inc. took special care to design the building in a way that also recognized an outcropping of natural oaks in the area setting the Community Center back to protect root systems and preserve the existing environment of these beautiful oaks.
Mr. Vallee also mentioned he envisioned a Choctawhatchee Beach Mouse as the guide to the visitor experience throughout the educational path. We really love this idea – what a perfect way to highlight our unique and truly special environment!
Mr. Kellenberger explained that the next steps are to present this project before the Walton County Board of County Commissioners for input and approval. If approved and without any major roadblocks this project is expected to have construction started, “… this time next year.” said Mr. Kellenberger.
So here are with a first look at the Grayton Beach Community Center! WOW! Workshop Video following images.