‘Forward’ details north Okaloosa County progress, problems

Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 at 06:17 PM.

Forward: A Special Section Tracking Crestview’s Progress, is an unprecedented look at north Okaloosa County’s strides in economy, health, education and recreation, areas crucial to our community’s quality of life.

Brian Hughes, Randy Dickson and Matthew Brown spoke with local experts and leaders to bring you the data and analysis on what’s working and what needs improvement in these areas.

For instance, the military’s $5.2 billion annual contribution to the economy, along with personnel’s need for affordable housing, has placed Crestview’s real estate business in a better position than that of other Florida cities during this recession.

Okaloosa County employment is on the rise, as are arts and cultural offerings, and Crestview students have more options than ever for secondary education.

North Okaloosa Medical Center has matched once unavailable services to Hub City residents who needn’t travel to Destin or other medical facilities anymore. CEO David Fuller said its innovations, including possible robotic surgery applications, will continue.

On the other hand, some areas need improvement.

The Okaloosa County Health Department has identified smoking and obesity as top problems, with pregnant smokers and teenagers exposed to second-hand smoke exceeding state averages.

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