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3rd location considered for relocation of Milton courthouse

SANTA ROSA COUNTY -- Santa Rosa County Commissioners have now added a third possible courthouse site to consider.

A growing number of people in Santa Rosa County have pushed to leave the Courthouse in downtown Milton where it is.
The Milton City Council has also lobbied to keep the courthouse where it is.
There are already two other possible courthouse locations on the table.
One location is a 15 acre site in East Milton on Highway 90, southwest of Peter Prince Airport.
The other location is a 22 acre site in Pea Ridge also off Highway 90.

The Santa Rosa Courthouse is at the heart of downtown Milton.  The 87 Year old building has been at the center of debate for years.
When will it be replaced, and where will a new one go?
Donna Matheny feels the historic building is a fixture for the city of Milton.  Where ever the courthouse ends up, she hopes it is cost effective.

"People are familiar with the location, improve on what's already existing" said Donna Matheny, Santa Rosa County Resident.

Michael Kistler would like to see the courthouse moved elsewhere so it has space to grow and expand.

"I think they should move it.  It's been here for a while, it's a staple of Milton, but it's time to go somewhere better and bigger" said Michael Kistler, Santa Rosa County Resident.

Developers have come up with a site plan for renovations to the existing building, if that plan is selected.
Some of the renovations include more parking, ramp driveways, and a new main floor 11 feet above sea level.   

Santa Rosa Commissioner, Bob Cole believes developing the courthouse in its current spot presents a number of challenges including not having enough space for growth.

"When we ask for properties, we look for a minimum of ten acres, we have barely half of that and that would include buying additional properties" said Bob Cole, Santa Rosa County Commissioner.

Whether the courthouse is new or renovated, it is contingent on a local option sales tax passing in the fall.
Once a price tag is calculated for each proposed courthouse location, commissioners will have a better idea on how long the local option sales tax will need to last to cover the cost.

In the coming months, public hearings will be held so people can make a more informed decision on the future of the Santa Rosa Courthouse in November.