GULF BREEZE — During Santa Rosa commissioners' Infrastructure Sales Tax meeting, held this week at the Tiger Point Community Center, top issues attendees spoke to commissioners about were improving county recreation facilities and public safety.
The commission chairman read two comment cards submitted. Joy Grace expressed interest in seeing a Miracle League field at the southern end of Santa Rosa County. Miracle League is a nonprofit that gives children with disabilities the opportunity to play baseball.
Roy Harris said the Pea Ridge area needs more recreation opportunities.
“In District 1, there is not a recreation facility other than one for the smaller kids, walking trails, along those lines,” Harris said. “There’s not a ball field, a soccer field, basketball, softball, baseball, track, (or) anything along those lines … and I’ll go one step further and say it needs to be an inclusive park, inclusive of all the kids no matter what their level of ability to function."
Putting in a field for any kind of sport, even on flat ground, is expensive, according to Commissioner Lane Lynchard, but worth pursuing, he said.
“The demands on our existing parks are growing. We’re one of the fastest growing counties in the state of Florida. The kids deserve all the opportunities we can give them,” he said.
Scott Kemp said the Santa Rosa Sheriff's Office needs more help and said the county’s tentative project list excludes an increase in Santa Rosa Sheriff's Office manpower. However, state statute limits how counties can use the sales tax, which excludes hiring and salary increases, Commissioner Don Salter said.
Sheriff Bob Johnson did ask the county to implement its radio site additions sooner. According to the tentative list, the county planned to add a radio site in Navarre for $575,000 and one in East Milton, with funds coming from the Intragovernmental Communications Program committee, in 2018.
Santa Rosa officials will meet with Motorola April 24 regarding new radio frequencies, according to Emergency Management Director Brad Baker.
The county must work with the Federal Communications Commission to establish these new radio sites; it's a time-consuming process, according to Baker.
The final infrastructure tax meeting is set 5 p.m. April 18 at the Santa Rosa County Administrative Center Board Room, 6495 Caroline St. in Milton.