Economic Yearbook 2006 - Big Bend Region
Economic diversification in Tallahassee is giving a population and business boost to rural, fringe counties.
Capital city business-hunters are trumpeting two big-bang moves this year: Both the renowned Applied Superconductivity Center and breakthrough Canadian company Danfoss Turbocor, a manufacturer of oil-free compressors, will move to Tallahassee's Innovation Park. Primary lures were the high-tech research and engineering resources of Florida State University, home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
"When you think of high tech in Florida, we want people to think of Tallahassee,'' says Brad Day, executive director of the Economic Development Council of Tallahassee/Leon County, which wants to further diversify job creation beyond the traditional government, service and retail sectors.
While Madison County is experiencing strong land sales, Jefferson County is seeing its share of newcomers. Says Jefferson County Economic Development Director Julie Conley, "The trend is people moving here from South and Central Florida looking for a less-congested place.''
Residential spillover from Tallahassee is giving fringe counties a population and business boost. Gadsden County new-home sales increased 93% through November last year, and Wakulla's jumped 78%. Nearly half of Gadsden County residents work in Tallahassee, says county Economic Development Director David A. Gardner, and more are coming as subdivisions are carved out of timberlands. Gadsden County also is seeing an influx of new business tenants, attracted to easy highway access, especially around fast-growing Midway.