Moving Forward, Together
Neglected Gap Creek Watershedis a Source of Flooding and Pollution
On Saturday, May 1st the Okaloosa Democratic Executive Committee and the Okaloosa County Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida hosted a tour of the Gap Creek watershed. The tour was conducted by Mr. Barry Gray, a long-time resident and leader in the Sylvania Heights neighborhood.
Elected officials from Okaloosa County, Fort Walton Beach, and Cinco Bayou were invited. Fort Walton Beach City Council members Kirby Locklear and David Schmidt attended, as well as Daniel Payne, Public Works Director for the City of Fort Walton Beach. Mayor Jean Hood from Cinco Bayou also attended. County officials did not attend.
Gap Creek begins forming on the eastern edge of Hurlburt Field, makes its way east through the City of Fort Walton Beach and parts of the County, then feeds into Cinco Bayou. Decades of neglect cause the creek to overflow during storms, creating flooding. In addition, lack of proper storm water systems means that pollutants flow directly into Cinco Bayou, causing beach closures – especially after heavy rains.
Over the years, many local City and County officials have done their best to address these issues. Fixing the watershed in a sustainable way will require citizens putting pressure on local elected officials to work together across jurisdictions and find the money required to address this complex issue. We believe that there may be funds available for this work in President Biden’s Infrastructure Plan. Stay tuned and please contact our Environmental Caucus at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to work with us on this important issue.
Okaloosa County Democratic Party Chair Tracey Tapp summarizes the tour
Black Caucus Takes the Lead at May Day Voter Registration
In Okaloosa County, May Day celebrates the history of Carver-Hill School in Crestview. The school was founded in 1915 as a school for African American children, and closed its doors in 1969 after county schools were desegregated. May Day festivities in Okaloosa County blend a celebration of African-American history with traditional European May Day activities like singing and dancing.
This year’s May Day Celebration was held at Chester Pruitt Park in Fort Walton Beach. It included vendors, raffles, games for children, live music and softball. Also available was Voter Registration, thanks to the Okaloosa County Democratic Black Caucus. Thanks to everyone who came out to help!
Environmental Caucus Creates “Environmental Grove”
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