Florida Department of Transportation


Taylor County, Florida


Architecture, Roadway Design and Engineering, Landscape Architecture, Planning

A small rural county in the Big Bend area of North Florida, Taylor County is heavily reliant on the tourism industry. The County worked with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to identify opportunities to revitalize the region through improvement projects that would benefit community members, visitors and local businesses. FDOT selected Gresham Smith to design an extension to Keaton Beach Coastal Park along with a multiuse trail on County Road 361 to further those goals.

Prior to the project, Keaton Beach Coastal Park consisted of a boat launch, two parking lots and a restroom area. The planned recreational improvements include an access loop, a restroom facility, a parking area, bike racks, picnic pavilions, a butterfly garden and a concrete sidewalk. As there was no safe pedestrian access to the park, Gresham Smith’s goal was to design a shared-use path that would connect the local community and accommodate both pedestrians and bicyclists along CR 361 within the existing 100-foot right-of-way. The team collaborated with FDOT and Taylor County to find the best design solutions at the most reasonable cost while minimizing impacts to environmentally sensitive local habitats, including nearby salt marshes, wetlands and an Essential Fish Habitat. To protect and enhance the natural habitat, the team provided a low-impact design and multiple options for mitigation that included on-site salt marsh creation, and purchasing credits from salt marsh and wetland mitigation banks outside of the local watershed.

County Road 361

Serving the multimodal and recreational needs of Taylor County, Keaton Beach Coastal Park and its connecting CR 361 trail provide the public with a beautiful recreational facility that not only boosts the local ecotourism and fishing industries, but also enhances the quality of life for the local community. Taylor County anticipates an increase in the number of visitors to the small coastal community as a result of increased recreational opportunities for hiking, biking, boating and fishing.