7th Special Forces Group has given the area a needed economic boost

Published: Monday, December 3, 2012 at 05:52 PM.

 “That’s quite a different (economic) impact when you look at it,” he said.

Lewis said 65 to 75 percent of the families settled in north Okaloosa County.

The soldiers deploy regularly and military spouses wanted to live close to each other for support. They also are a tight-knit group, having all been stationed together at Fort Bragg for years.

“Crestview got out ahead,” Lewis said. “They were very welcoming and worked to promote Crestview as the place to be.”

Many of the families just didn’t look anywhere else, he said.

Lewis said he was somewhat surprised more families didn’t move south because housing was much more affordable closer to the beach and Choctawhatchee Bay than it would have been before the housing market crashed.

He said the lingering question about the military’s economic impact remains what level of growth the area will see from the F-35 program.

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