The Trust for Public Land plans to spend $2,020,000 to purchase the 5.74-acre site on the Santa Rosa Sound owned by Shoreline Developers of Florida LLC and donate it to the county.

NAVARRE BEACH — The last private parcel within the Navarre Beach Marine Park on the eastern end of the barrier island will soon belong to Santa Rosa County.

The Trust for Public Land plans to spend $2,020,000 to purchase the 5.74-acre site on the Santa Rosa Sound owned by Shoreline Developers of Florida LLC and donate it to the county.

That means the entire 151 acres would be preserved and used for recreation by county residents and visitors.

“That’s one giant Navarre Beach Marine Park operated by Santa Rosa County,” said Roger Blaylock, the Navarre Beach director and county engineer.

Charles S. Liberis, who started his career as a legislative aide to Congressman Bob Sikes, serves as the manager of the property, the Florida Division of Corporations reports.

Kate Brown, TPL senior project manager, announced the news of the transaction to the five-member Santa Rosa County Commission at its Monday committee meeting.

“It’s such a great spot,” Brown said. “It’s a beautiful resource for the people to have.”

Dave Piech, who represents the beach as the District 4 commissioner, said the land deal serves to preserve the unique and fragile ecosystem forever.

“This is fantastic,” Piech said. “It doesn’t cost the county a dime.”

Back in 1965 the Navarre Pass opened. However, two months later Hurricane Betsy ravished the Gulf Coast and turned it into a shallow canal passable only by canoe. Additionally, over the years Shoreline Developers of Florida entertained plans to turn the location into a marina.

The eastern end of the barrier island originally opened as a state park for four months before suffering extensive damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and then further damage from Hurricane Dennis in 2005.

Santa Rosa County commissioners approved taking over the park Oct. 9, 2009 from the state.

Development on the eastern end of the four-mile stretch of Navarre Beach began in 2011 with the finalization of a plan to construct a Marine Science Center. Two years later, the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary added several artificial diving reefs in both the gulf and sound sides of the park. Finally, the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center opened a conservatory in 2016.

The county has upgraded the marine park adding kayak launching pads in the gulf and sound sides, a pier in the Santa Rosa Sound, pavilions for picnics, bathrooms, walkways and an observation tower, among other amenities.

In addition, the site includes several threatened and endangered species, such as the black skimmer, least tern and snowy plover, loggerhead, green, leatherback and Kemp’s Ridleys sea turtles and the white beach mouse.

“It’s great to see it remain a natural area,” said Sam Parker, Santa Rosa County commission chairman.