The Turkey Creek Nature Trail in Niceville has become a symbol and destination site for the city, and on Oct. 17 it saw the ribbon cutting of the new handicap accessible kayak launch.

            As a double ceremony event, the city also unveiled its new monument, located on the corner of W. John Sims Parkway and Evans Street, next to the south entrance of the Turkey Creek Nature Trail.

            “I’m so excited about it,” said Niceville’s Mayor Pro Tem Cathy Alley. She spearheaded the project, which began two years ago. The COVID 19 pandemic delayed the completion of both the boardwalk and the monument installation.

            When workers could return, both projects were once again set in motion.

            The double ceremony drew about 75 people, including visitors from other cities as well as those who made the projects happen.

            Niceville Mayor Daniel Henkel provided the keynote speech, recognizing all who worked on the boardwalk.

            Before the ceremonies took place, Henkel said that “this whole walk all the way to the north end, they (city employees) did the work. It’s something else, I tell you.”

            Niceville Public Works Director Johnathan Laird said that once the launch and an additional tree-level viewing deck began, workers completed the projects within three to four months.

            “Everybody pitched in and did a great job,” Laird said, crediting much of the success to City Manager Lannie Corbin.

            The same effort went into the creation of the Niceville monument, Alley said.

            “We got artists to submit renderings,” she added. During the Oct. 17 unveiling, the winning artist finally saw her work applied to the monument.

            “I’m very excited to see the mural in person,” said Janae Erickson, a local graphic artist whose work now welcomes people to Turkey Creek and the city.

            Before the unveiling, Erickson recognized local sign business Accent Signs for applying her design to a wrap, which was then placed over the concrete monument.

            Erickson incorporated elements of Niceville’s history into her art, featuring nods to the early Boggy days, the wildlife of the area, the influence of Eglin Air Force Base and the military, and a special tribute to long-time Mayor Randall Wise, who died in January 2020.

            After both the ribbon cutting and the unveiling, guests and workers were treated to lunch, catered by Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q.

            The monument can be seen any time. Turkey Creek Nature Trail opens at 6:30 a.m. and currently closes at 6:30 p.m.


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