Open House touts community partners

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Annie Blanks @DestinLogAnnie

Civic and community leaders came together Thursday for the city of Destin’s annual Open House event at the Destin Community Center.

The event featured booths from 16 different groups and organizations, including the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, Gulf Power and the Destin Library, among others.

Kathy Marler Blue, director of the Destin History and Fishing Museum, had a booth at the event. She said the annual event was a great way to showcase the different groups who contribute to the community.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to help us share what our mission is and what we have to offer to the citizens of Destin,” Blue said.

The Open House also served as the kickoff for Destin’s new “Leave No Trace” program, a citywide initiative to promote sustainable living and environmental awareness.

“Our annual Open Houses always showcase our staff and what staff does in the community, as well as our city partners who help the community function,” city spokesman Doug Rainer said. “The special part about today is that we’re showing how the city practices sustainability through a lot of different avenues, recycling being one of them. And we’re also rolling out our ‘Leave No Trace’ campaign.”

Rainer said “Leave No Trace,” which will roll out over the next six to eight months, will initially begin with placing signs at all city beach accesses and implementing a “green team” to help promote the plan.

City Councilman Chatham Morgan said the new program is “long overdue.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s old barn rules. If you open it, close it. If you put it down, pick it up. Clean up after yourself.”

Shelby DeSoto, a planning technician with the city, added the sustainability initiative will be implemented within the city planning department as well.

“From a community development standpoint, we’ve got building, planning and code enforcement, and we all work together as one big team to make sure we can keep the environment clean,” she said. “We use sustainability to enforce that.”