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WASTE WATCH: Okaloosa County Economic Impact Study

OKALOOSA COUNTY   --  Destin leaders want to take a hard look at what brings money into the city, and how big an impact those dollars have.

They've approved an economic impact study to look at key industries.

Destin Fishing Rodeo, which is has already broken a record this year for the number of fish weighed in.
The fishing industry is a great example of how this economic impact study will be used.

It's a given that fishing is big business in Destin.
This year's Fishing Rodeo has drawn anglers from forty-two states.

Jerry Hamlin/TX "We're here ten times a year, every year as long as twenty years ago"
The last time anybody crunched the numbers was back in 2000.
At that time, the Haas Center showed 175 million dollars in direct spending, and more than 7200 jobs directly or indirectly tied to fishing.

Bruce Cheves/Weighmaster "It's what made the town, it's what sustains a lot of this town"
Having current data could help sustain Destin's future.
The mayor says economic data is needed when the city applies for grants and federal funding.

For example, Destin is looking for money to armor Norriego Point, which protects the harbor but has ongoing erosion problems.
One way to get help is to show the economic impact of this fishing fleet and recreational boating.

Jake Brashears "It would only help to have some data to back up what we all feel is the case"
The study will look at other economic drivers too, including the overall impact of tourism.

Rick Vaughn from Missouri says his family will spend about 1500 dollars this week.
"Just depends on what you want to do and how much you want to do"

The study will cost twenty-five thousand dollars and be ready in about twelve weeks.

The mayor says it will show the economic impact Destin has on the county, the state, and the entire region.