The park, built in memory of a Bluewater Bay boy, is enjoying significant improvements.
Abram’s Park, located at 1490 Southwind Drive, features playground equipment and a brand-new sunshade to keep that equipment cool during summer. At the same time that Okaloosa County installed the sunshade, the county and the Bluewater Bay Municipal Services Unit completed a new section of the sidewalk down the length of Woodlands Drive from White Point Road to Southwind Drive, making it easier for kids and families to access the park.
“The sidewalk project has been on the books for some time,” said Butch Hendrick, Okaloosa County’s facilities and parks maintenance director. “It wasn’t necessarily built to benefit the park, but it’s turned out to be a plus.”
After 12-year-old Abram Sitcer was hit by a car and killed while riding his bike near the intersection of Bluewater Boulevard and Southwind Drive in 2019, community leader Dave Vardaman and members of the non-profit group Friends of Bluewater Bay worked with the county and the Bluewater Bay MSBU to raise funds for a park in his honor. The owners of the Bluewater Bay golf course donated a one-acre parcel of land not far from the site of the accident. The county has taken ownership of the park, which opened in April 2021.
In addition to making the park more comfortable for the kids using the playground equipment, Hendrick said there are other improvements in the works that will benefit residents of all ages.
“Bluewater Bay was originally built as a golf course community, so there weren’t really any parks like this in the original plan,” he said. “That’s why this park is such a great addition for everyone. We also have on our agenda a plan to renovate the restrooms, which were already there when that parcel of land used to be a tee box for the old golf course. We plan to build a small pavilion with picnic tables by the end of the year, too.”
That’s good news for Chris Olson, the current president of Friends of Bluewater Bay.
“We are very excited about the improvements we’re seeing at Abram’s Park,” Olson said. “Dave Vardaman worked really hard to make this park a reality, and the county stepped up to take ownership and take care of the maintenance. We’re grateful to the county for all that they’re doing.”