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Greater Pensacola Chamber pushes for commerce park
The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce is pushing to move forward on a commerce park. In order to get it, the County would have to do a land swap deal which involves developing a new training field in Santa Rosa County.
The land they want is currently a outlying landing field that the Navy uses to train Whiting Field pilot. The idea: To build a new training facility for the Navy over in Santa Rosa County and then swap.
The idea has been in the works for 20 years but it wasn't until recently that Chamber leaders found a site that would work. It's a Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce initiative but the project would be run by Escambia County.
The plan will cost the county anywhere from $15-25 million dollars. However, there are several hoops to jump through. The County would pay for and develop a new training facility for the Navy in milton and once that is ready to go.
They'd give that to the Navy and take over the existing landing field in Beulah and develop a commerce park. Vice President of Economic development for the Chamber, Scott Luth, said "The only opportunity we have is to go further and further from Interstate. Yes there is property out there, but how competitive would that property be to recruit companies."
They say the key is location. The piece of land has to be big enough and located close Interstate 10. The hope is that Airbus support companies would set up shop here employing a tleast 4,000 people.
The chamber says this deal will be big for the Navy as well. The new landing field would be much closer to Whiting field. Luth said, "We are in very early stages of moving this initiative over. The timing over the last 20 years has been identifying a piece of property that works for Navy. That didn't have wetlands, the engineering made sense, and most importantly was available for sale."
It's going to take a lot of approval. Escambia and Santa Rosa County commissioners have to be on board.
The biggest hurdle is getting the Navy to say yes. The Navy is currently reviewing the request.