ONE Port St. Joe Regional Park Network

Vision Statement

Utilize existing green spaces to:

  • Generate sense of community ownership and civic pride
  • Create connectivity between the city and the bay
  • Integrate Port St. Joe’s history, nature and urban environment
  • Maximize use of land
We all just got to come together to say this is what it is and this is what we’re going to do to revamp this place.

—Stanley Peters, resident

Goals & Objectives

  • To understand how the community uses their parks
  • Create an enjoyable walk from downtown to the bay front
  • Celebrate the historic value of the lighthouse
  • Stack functions of stormwater management and recreation

Community Input

Over a year and a half after Hurricane Michael, many community members are proud of the recovery work that has happened to date. The word “resilience” resonates strongly in Port St. Joe.

Parks are a space of historical and cultural significance, and many of the parks in Port St. Joe exist because of strong sense of community ownership.

Challenges that seem to arise from our observations include the residential destruction that occurred during Hurricane Michael. These infrastructure needs take priority over parks.

However, parks, even through disaster, remain important gathering places.

Preliminary Research

Future of the City

Case Study Inspiration

  1. Resisting: terraced edge, bulkhead, deployable flood wall, etc.
  2. Delaying: parkland/terraced edge, green roof, and bioswale
  3. Storing: cistern, bioretention basin, and constructed wetlands
  4. raising the altitude level for new development
  5. increasing the elevations of coastal edges
  6. improving the perimeter protection and interior drainage
  7. constructing embankments
  8. raising the shoreline embankment
  9. extending the shoreline and creating beaches or marshes
  10. minimizing the upland wave zones
  11. improving coastal governance and design.

Case Study Inspiration: Park-scale

  • Prioritizing flood infrastructure
  • Customizing site fixtures and furnishings
  • Stabilizing riparian bank
  • Soil excavation
  • Permeable pavement
  • Bioswales and bioretention areas
  • Biofiltration swale
  • Expanding capacity of river channels
  • Evaluating ecological quality
  • Decreasing existing sub-watershed floodplain
  • Restoring historic wetlands
  • Improving water conveyance capacity

Primary Research

We surveyed 97 people in Port St. Joe about their views on the park systems.

  • 73% are St. Joe residents
  • 20% are from other areas in Gulf county
  • 6.0% are out-of-state tourists.

Importance of Parks

  • 75% think parks are important
  • 75% attended public events in their parks during the last year
  • 50% visit a park at least once a month

Resilient Functions of Parks

  • 79% think resilient park strategies are important
  • 65% are aware that park facilities can contribute to flood resiliency

Park Education

  • 60% would like to be educated through signs
  • 50.5% through events
  • 43.2% through pamphlets
  • 40.0% through online activities
"We have all these different areas that have parks in them that just kind of need to be updated and revamped, add some use to them to get some foot traffic in." —Reese Antley, resident

Our Proposal

Residents expressed a shared, public and permanent venue. They envision a place for watching films, for multiple churches to have shared events, and for larger community festivals.

An outdoor stage that is permanent and open to public access.

  • A permanent roof that can be dismantled in case of an approaching storm
  • Set on pile-ons like a dock for aesthetics and in case of flooding or surge
  • A pull down screen for projecting films, drive-thru theatre style
  • An open grassy lawn for seating/standing audiences
  • Permanent utility hook up (already existing in the chosen location
  • South facing to project sound across Maddox Park and Centennial Park Jetty
  • Truck access for stage and sound set-up (already exists in chosen location)

Footbridges to connect George Core Park with Maddox Park

  • Set over the existing weir to prevent illegal vehicle access to area and subsequent damage to weir
  • Native Landscaping in the water with intent to filter stormwater before it enters the bay
  • Would recommend weathered bowstring truss bridge to match with town brand, or a more economical dock-like bridge. To fit with maritime theme.

Continuous foot/bike path through park

  • Crushed shell path to fit sense of place and is also a superior material for biker safety when compared to gravel
  • Continuous walking path is more likely to qualify for grants based on public health component
  • Connectivity between parks, lighthouse, promenade to downtown for easy pedestrian or bicycle access

Historic preservation

  • Preservation of bench seating contorted by Hurricane Michael


  • Kanglin Chen | College of Design, Construction & Planning
  • Amy Fu | College of Journalism & Communications
  • Isaac Graham | College of Design, Construction & Planning
  • Brandon McKinley | College of Journalism & Communications
  • Blake West | College of Design, Construction & Planning

Special Thanks

Port St. Joe Residents and Partners

  • Reese Antley
  • Jon Dillard
  • Jera Horton
  • Bill Kennedy
  • Michael Lacour
  • Mel Magidson
  • Nathan Peters
  • Stanley Peters
  • Charlotte Pierce
  • Survey respondents
  • And everyone in Port St. Joe for their hospitality

University of Florida

  • Jeff Carney
  • Cleary Larkin
  • Alyson Larson
  • All guest lecturers


Drawings, renderings, and maps by Kanglin Chen and Blake West Photography by Brandon McKinley and Blake West Video by Amy Fu & Brandon McKinley