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Visitor Center Coming to VPS in February

VALPARAISO — Okaloosa County Tourist Development Department officials hope to open their planned visitor center at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport by early February, TDD Director Jennifer Adams said recently.

The county’s Tourist Development Council on Dec. 20 approved a 1-year memorandum of agreement, with an option to renew, with the county Airports Department for the use of space for the center.

The facility will be set up in a vacant, 691-square-foot kiosk that formerly was used by a rental car company. The space is between the Avis/Budget and National/Alamo car rental kiosks and west of the baggage claim area.

The TDD will pay the Airports Department $4,615.88 per month to lease the space. The yearly cost totals $55,390.56 and represents the market rental rate required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Staff from the TDD who will work at the center will share information with visitors about local beaches and other attractions, including various businesses.

“We are looking at options for design” of the center, including a large aquarium tank, Adams told the TDC.

She added that while she was picking up her daughter from the airport at 4 p.m. on a recent afternoon, she noticed that there were a couple hundred people in the baggage claim and rental car area where the center will stand.

“I like the fish tank idea,” TDC Chairman Bruce Craul said. “If you get (the attention of) the kids, you get the parents.”

County spokesman Rob Brown on Thursday said the staff is determining the annual operational costs and setting the visitor center’s hours of operation.

{article reposted from Northwest Florida Daily News}