Walton County industrial park receives certification

DeFuniak Springs Municipal Airport has become the first certified industrial park in Walton County through Gulf Power’s Florida First Sites program.

Florida First Sites was created in 2013 to help communities prepare sites to attract new industries and new jobs to the region. This is the seventh site to be certified in Northwest Florida under the program.

This industrial park, owned by the city of DeFuniak Springs, has two parcels within the airport property that have become certified – one 22.32 acres and one 34 acres.

“Achieving certification by McCallum Sweeney Consulting sends a strong message that our city is business-friendly with sites ready for development,” said DeFuniak Springs Mayor Bob Campbell. “This process has not been easy, but our staff has successfully met all of the requirements and has a great story to tell any company looking to locate or expand its operations.” 

Gulf Power hired McCallum Sweeney, a nationally recognized site consultant firm, to offer an objective third-party analysis of the submitted sites. The consulting firm evaluates the properties, identifies improvements that must be made and then certifies the sites once they have met all the program requirements.

“We developed the Florida First Sites program to ensure Northwest Florida has attractive sites that are available and ready for business,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power president and CEO. “McCallum Sweeney Consulting’s approach is rigorous, but completing this type of due diligence in advance helps minimize risk and accelerates speed to market for companies looking for new locations.”

Landowners had one year to complete the identified improvements — everything from obtaining permits, improving topography and producing engineering reports to making sure adequate utilities are available to the site.

“This industrial certification offers a strong branding tool for economic development in our county,” said Steve Jaeger, Walton County Economic Development Alliance executive director. “Growing companies want to be able to move quickly and this detailed analysis required by site certification makes the DeFuniak Springs Airport especially appealing.”    

For more information on all of the sites, visit FloridaFirstSites.com.

Gulf Power is an investor-owned electric utility with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. Gulf Power serves more than 436,000 customers in eight counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company’s mission is to safely provide exceptional customer value by delivering reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible electric service while strengthening our communities. Visit MyGulfPower.com or on the company’s Facebook page, “Gulf Power Company.” News information can be found at GulfPowerNews.com