April 15, 2014

Economic yearbook 2011

Northwest - Yearbook

| 4/1/2011

Walton COUNTY

Walton Population: 59,512
Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 3.06%
Population by Age:
0-14
15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
17.0% 5.3% 25.5% 35.4% 16.8%
Per Capita Income: $28,976

Tourism took an 8% tumble in 2010, attributed to negative oil spill publicity, but investments in accommodations are up for 2011, including the start of the beachside Hotel Viridian and the opening of the hotel's V restaurant. Away from the beach, the county is working on master planning the 315-acre Northwest Florida Commerce Park at Mossy Head and marketing the 26-acre developable portion of the county industrial park at Freeport. The county is also updating its master plan for DeFuniak Springs Municipal Airport to add corporate space and extend the runway to 5,000 feet.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY

Santa Rosa Population: 163,042
Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 2.49%
Population by Age:
0-14
15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
18.8% 6.4% 26.5% 35.2% 13.2%
Per Capita Income: $32,712

More than 1,100 jobs were added in the county last year, led by the opening of GEO Group's Blackwater River Correctional Facility, with 350 employees, and a 500-employee expansion at Clearwire's call center. Business newcomers included Avalex Technologies, moving from Pensacola, and Frama-Tech, which relocated its headquarters from Los Angeles. Overall, unemployment dipped and building permits increased. While bed-tax revenue dropped 13.9% for the year, new tourism lures weren't lacking, notes Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Kate Wilkes. The Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, the longest on the Gulf, was completed; the Gulf Breeze Zoo reopened; and Adventures Unlimited mounted a zip line.

GULF COUNTY

Gulf Population: 16,066
Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 0.48%
Population by Age:
0-14
15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
12.3% 4.9% 31.1% 35.5% 16.2%
Per Capita Income: $26,391

County officials are working to put the port back in Port St. Joe and to facilitate the startup of the proposed Northwest Florida Renewable Energy Center. Both projects are in the permitting process. The port is planned to have two adjacent sites: The barge site now ready for use by industrial customers and the deepwater site, awaiting final permit approval. Both tourism and fishing were affected by the oil spill, says Tom Graney, chairman of the Gulf County Economic Development Council, adding, "We're looking for new economic developments in 2011."

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