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Santa Rosa County has attracted dozens of businesses and manufacturers from all over the country. Site availability and price are attractive, with choices in ready-to-go industrial settings or raw land to build on. Water is pure and abundant; road, air, railway and water transportation is readily available; a skilled workforce, including many military retirees, provides an excellent source of employees; and industrial revenue bond financing is available within state guidelines. Another key to the area's success in economic development is the willingness of local officials to work closely with new businesses to meet their specific needs.

The Santa Rosa County Small Business Development Center is available to area business and residents requiring assistance with starting a new business, expanding an existing business, developing business plans, obtaining economic and demographic information and statistics. Appointments for consultations can be made by calling 595.5480.

The greatest numbers of persons in Santa Rosa County are employed in the government, retail trade, and services sectors. Whiting Field Naval Air Station and Eglin Air Force Base are major federal government employers. Employers of the greatest numbers of persons in the retail trade sector were eating and drinking establishments and food stores. In the services sector employers of the greatest numbers of persons were medical and other health services and business services. Major employers in the manufacturing sector are a large lumber mill in Bagdad and several chemical plants. In 1992 there were 430 farms in Santa Rosa County, totaling 79,270 acres (12% of land in the county). In 1991, 18,278 thousand board feet of softwood logs, 116,547 cords of softwood for pulp, and 8,255 cords of hardwood for pulp were produced. In 1991, 1,365,291 pounds of fish and 211,978 pounds of shellfish were landed in Santa Rosa County.

Milton, the county seat of Santa Rosa County, is located near the center of the western Florida Panhandle county, adjacent to the Blackwater River. The City of Milton is among the oldest cities in Florida, incorporated in 1844 under the Florida Territorial Acts of 1844. In Miltonís founding days, the Blackwater River served as the main transportation artery for its timber, lumber, brick, naval stores and ship building industries.


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