MKAF | In The News

2016 - June

  • MKAF publicly announces a RFP process for accepting competitive proposals to lease the existing swim facility, building and other improvements at 4325 Commons Drive West, Destin, FL 32541.

    The property is currently bound to certain deed and use restrictions governed by the Mattie Kelly 908 Trust (the 908 Trust). While the MKAF owns the property, the selected bidder, if any, will need to be approved by the Trustee of the 908 Trust.

    Refer to for news announcement and guidelines for the restricted land use and eligibility requirements.

2016 - May

  • MKAF Board of Directors approved the pursuit of an RFP (Request for Proposal) process to be announced soon.

2016 - April

  • Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Statement Regarding Closure of the Destin YMCA & Future Tenant

    Due to the growing number of questions, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) Executive Board has compiled a statement of facts regarding the former Destin Family YMCA, as the current landlord of the property.

    In 1999, the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation inherited a 52-acre parcel of land from the Kelly's to pursue Mattie's dream of a cultural arts facility in Destin. Within the Mattie M. Kelly 908 Estate and Trust and Special Warranty Deed, there are specific outlined uses of the land as well as corresponding timelines to meet those objectives.

    The Estate and Trust also outline approved uses for the parcel of land that currently houses the building of the former Destin Family YMCA. The Trust states:

    "The Estate and Trust consent to the Arts Center’s( Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation) plan to support and develop (1) a Destin YMCA, (2) a senior citizen program, (3) a marine conservation and environmental studies program in cooperation with Florida universities using the adjacent wetlands and Choctawhatchee Bay."

    The Estate and Trust states that failure of the Arts Center (Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation) to comply with the terms of such deed as set forth in the deed will result in the property reverting back to the Estate.

    The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, its board of directors, volunteers, members and supporters have worked tirelessly to develop the first phase of the 52-acre parcel of land donated by the late Mattie Kelly. Today it houses the multi-use Cultural Arts Village, featuring the Dugas Pavilion, Village Green, on-site parking, restrooms, a playground and corporate offices.

    MKAF is focused on carrying out Mattie Kelly’s vision and wishes by executing its mission to be the champion of cultural arts and education in Northwest Florida. While we are saddened by the untimely closing of the Destin Family YMCA, MKAF must remain focused on its mission. The current litigation and process to find a new tenant has consumed precious resources and been laborious for MKAF’s already limited staff.

    The MKAF board is optimistic that we will find a sustainable organization that meets the above criteria. In the meantime, we are grateful for the support of the community.

  • MKAF met with the Mattie Kelly 908 Trust to review the allowable uses as outlined in the deed restrictions. The MKAF’s Executive Committee will address guidelines for seeking a new tenant at its next meeting.

2016 - March

  • The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation requested a meeting with the Mattie Kelly 908 Trustee, Larry Reeder to discuss the restricted charitable uses for the 6.5 parcel of land vacated by the former YMCA of the Emerald Coast.

2016 - February

  • With no further bank appeal, the litigation was officially concluded.

2016 - January

  • The mandate from the District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee ruled to uphold Judge Stone’s ruling and thereby denying the banks’ appeal. The bank was granted 30 days from the entry of the previous ruling of the First DCA to request review by the Florida Supreme Court.

2015 - July

  • Beach Community Bank appealed the Circuit Court ruling, which indefinitely delays any decision on the fate of the building, ground and pool of the former Destin YMCA.
  • MKAF Chairman and CEO receive council on the Estate and Trust 908 and better understand the Estate and Trust. Even if the judge rules in favor of MKAF, the foundation board will still have to obtain approval for its choice of tenant from the Mattie Kelly 908 Trust and Kelly family heirs. Click here for recent article in Northwest Florida Daily News.
  • Beach Community Bank appeals Okaloosa Court Judge Stone’s decision in favor of MKAF and will now proceed to the District Court of Appeal First District, State of Florida. No timeline was given for this process.

2015 - June

  • Circuit Court Judge William Stone ruled that the Arts Foundation was granted control of the YMCA building, pool and grounds when a bankruptcy trustee abandoned the property in January.

2015 - March

  • Beach Community Bank identified MKAF as a defendant in the foreclosure action against YMCA of the Emerald Coast.

2015 - February

  • MKAF notified nine organizations who had expressed an interest in leasing the facility, and offered site visits to these groups.

2015 - January

  • Bankruptcy Trustee and YMCA legally turned over possession of the facility to Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. MKAF conducted a property assessment as to the condition of the facility and began research options for a future tenant.

2014 - October

  • The Destin Family YMCA vacated the premises and filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

2007 - August

  • The Destin Family YMCA hosted its grand opening celebration to unveil the facility's completed Phase 1


  • MKAF inherited a 52-acre tract of land from the Kelly's to pursue Mattie's dream of a cultural arts facility in Destin.


  • The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation was formed as a 501-c-3 not-for-profit charitable arts organization; founded on the cultural, educational and spiritual beliefs of the late Destin Matriarch, Mattie Kelly.

Status updates will be posted to this page as they become available.