EDC director: Okaloosa must expand economy beyond military, hospitality

Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 06:45 PM.

"I find partners at every turn and assistance at every turn," Sparks says.

Political will, which goes hand in hand with partnerships, Sparks says, praising the alignment of area politicians who share business leaders' vision for economic development.

"If you don't have your politicians and community leaders bought into your vision, you're not going to be successful," Sparks says.

Local assets

Sounding a familiar refrain, Sparks, speaking Sept. 11 to the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce's Government Issues committee, said Okaloosa County needs to expand its economic base beyond the "two legs of the stool" represented by the military and the hospitality industry.

He enumerated several Crestview assets that set the town and surrounding area apart from other communities, including its "picturesque downtown" that can attract entrepreneurs.

Other attributes include expansive land assets, the city's ready access to all modes of transportation, a business-friendly community, trained workforce and good quality of life.

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