The Perdido Key Name Game

The Escambia County Commission will be considering rescinding a resolution today that requested the Florida Department of Transportation change the map-designation of Perdido Key to Perdido Key Beach. But what exactly will such a move accomplish?

“Whatever their resolution is, we’re going to look at the permit package,” Ian Satter, spokesperson for FDOT, District 3, Chipley, said this afternoon.

Satter said that FDOT was still in the process of reviewing a permit package received from Escambia County. The package is aimed at satisfying the state’s requirements relating to signage—in this case demonstrating a name-change, which will then be reflected on new signs.

A statement released by Escambia County yesterday lays out a timeline: after passing the Perdido Key resolution Feb. 7, the county contacted FDOT Feb. 18 and requested they not act on the resolution, only to be informed later that week by FDOT that a map update had been made Jan. 26 reflecting a change to ‘Perdido Key Beach.’ The county statement said that FDOT had communicated that the update was not due to locally-initiated requests.

Satter referred to the map update as possibly just “a placeholder at this time.” He said FDOT—via discussions between Chipley and Tallahassee— was still assessing how the January update was made.

“I think they’re trying to figure out exactly how that came to be,” Satter said. “We’re still trying to figure out exactly why that name change was put on the map.”

The spokesperson stressed that the update was not an official name change—“because we don’t make official name changes”—and that FDOT only recognized, with signage, place designations made by local governing bodies.

While commissioners will today consider rescinding the earlier resolution, Escambia County still intends to pursue signage change. As per the county statement: “In accordance with FDOT policy, Escambia County is proceeding with the goal of obtaining signage on FDOT interstate and secondary roadways that will inform motorists that there is a fourth exit along I-10 within Escambia County that will direct them to beaches located on Perdido Key.”

Satter said that the only way FDOT will change Perdido’s signage is if the county government officially changes the Key’s name. He said that’s the same thing the department told the Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce, when the group approached the state about a signage change.

The Escambia County Commission meets today at 5:30 p.m. at the Ernie Lee Magaha Government Building downtown. Public forum begins at 4:30 p.m.