LAUREL HILL — The Laurel Hill City Council, at its April 5 meeting, set a date for a city workshop to discuss putting forward a unified vision for where the city stands on potential future development of Highway 85.
The need for the workshop arose after Scott Moneypenny informed the council that a larger workshop on transportation is being planned that would involve officials from Crestview, Laurel Hill, Okaloosa County and FDOT, as well as State Senator George Gainer.
“They’re requesting a resolution from our city that we will align with them in Triumph funding and propose a change to try to get anywhere from $25 million to $35 million to complete the western bypass (around Crestview),” Moneypenny said.
Triumph is a non-profit that oversees funds for economic damages caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Moneypenny expressed concern for how a bypass around Crestview would affect traffic traveling north through Laurel Hill.
“We’re going to be the next bottleneck,” he said. “I think we really need to look at getting the traffic around Laurel Hill, because it’s got to go somewhere. We may be looking at five years or more down the road, but this is something we need to take action on now.”
Moneypenny suggested pushing for a bypass around Laurel Hill, citing a potential increase in traffic through the middle of town. Council members Johnny James and Debra Adams disagreed that there was a need for a bypass.
City attorney Jeff Burns suggested the city hold their own workshop prior to the transportation workshop in order to craft a unified message to take into the meeting.
“I understand both sides. We want people to come here, but we don’t want to overwhelm our community,” Moneypenny said.
The Laurel Hill Council set the workshop for 6 p.m. April 24 at the Laurel Hill city office and recieved approval by a unanimous vote.