Tuesday, April 21, 2009


To my Blog Following:

As the Vice President of the Northwest Florida Military Officer's Association, a local native, a retired Coast Guard Officer, and a former Military Housing Director, I get the opportunity to be part of some interesting conversations. These conversations are with local military commanders, local politicians, civic leaders, and local government leaders, and the news is great. Also, if you haven't spoken to Larry Sassano, President of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Counsel, you should, visit http://www.florida-edc.org/edc-info.html for his contact information. This area is exploding with government contracts being awarded and construction beginning for the Army Special Forces Base, the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and just normal improvements to the area's military bases. Another big project having an effect on us is the privatization of military housing, which will place more military families in the public sector for their housing choices. You also have the expansion of the Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview, Florida, where a number of Defense Contractors and Non-Defense Contractors reside, with more coming all the time. There is so much more happening now and in the future and our community must rise to the occasion. I just recently left a meeting with Larry Sassano and he and his staff are pounding the drums. Folks, especially the banks, we need to act NOW!!! We have a gem of a location, let's shine it up now. Oh! by the way, this does not count the Obama Stimulus Money coming our way also.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


This is even better news for our area. With our own area stimulis package underway because of BRAC Growth, the reduction in military housing at Eglin AFB, and folks finding out this is a great place to retire; we are in a position to see a great housing rebound much sooner than later. Oh by the way, the President has some more money coming our way, as well.

WASHINGTON – April 8, 2009 – Thanks to record low mortgage rates and declining home prices, 55 million families – half of all U.S. households – can afford today’s $200,000 median-priced new home, according to figures released by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).“That’s an increase of 17 million households from conditions just two years ago, and the best housing affordability number we have seen in years,” says NAHB Chairman Joe Robson. “We are now seeing the first signs that buyers are returning to the marketplace.”Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau comparing home prices, mortgage rates and minimum income needed to purchase a median-priced home in February 2007 and February 2009, a typical family today can purchase a house with $20,000 less in household income as they save nearly $500 per month on principal, interest, taxes and insurance. The number of households that can afford to purchase a home today is 55.4 million, compared with 38.4 million two years ago, according to figures compiled by NAHB.Single-family permits rose 11 percent in February; new and existing home sales also posted gains; and the huge inventory backlog is being slowly whittled down. In a survey for Century 21 Real Estate last month, a majority of prospective first-time home buyers – 78 percent – said that now is a good time to buy a home. Of those responding to the online poll, 68 percent said that now is a better time to buy than six months ago.Another sign that consumers are considering jumping back into the housing market is the growing interest in the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit included in the recently enacted economic stimulus package. During February and March, 1.5 million visitors logged on to NAHB’s consumer Web site, www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com, to learn more about the tax credit. Further, a new survey commissioned by Move Inc. found that nearly 20 percent of those who plan to purchase a home this year are doing so to take advantage of the tax credit, which expires at the end of November.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


As noted a month or so ago, this Overpass at the SR-85 - 123 connection will make living in Crestview that more attractive for those working in the south part of the county. But I have been saying this for quite some time. The folks, who were on the fence about moving to Crestview from the South part of the County, just might have their reason to make the leap. Already, we hear everyday, folks from the South part of the wanting to the North part of the county when they sale their house. I bet they will tried harder NOW, as the prices go back up.

$46 million SR 85-123 flyover project largest job slated for region

By DUSTY RICKETTS Northwest Florida Daily News 315-4448 dustyr@nwfdailynews.com

P r e s i d e n t B a r a c k Obama’s economic recovery stimulus is about to bring millions of dollars and thousands of new jobs to Northwest Florida. State Sen. Don Gaetz announced Friday afternoon that Northwest Florida will receive $88 million for transportation and infrastructure projects as part of the federal stimulus program. Although the funding still must be approved by the state legislative Budget Committee on April 16, Gaetz said that action basically is a formality. “I would have voted against the stimulus package as presented by the Obama administration if I had been a U.S. senator and not a state senator, and I have a number of reasons why,” Gaetz said. “But since the dollars are appropriated and going to be coming to Florida, I wanted to make sure Northwest Florida was not forgotten. I was pleased we were able to get our key priorities funded. But obviously, there are other projects further down the priority list we still hope we’ll have a chance at.” Okaloosa County is receiving the bulk of the stimulus dollars. The top priority for the region, which will be fully funded through the stimulus program, is the $46 million flyover ramp at the south intersection of State Road 85 and State Road 123 and the reconfiguring of the entrance to Northwest Florida Regional Airport. One of the stipulations for states to receive stimulus dollars was that projects had to be “shovel ready” and be able to put people to work immediately. Gaetz said at least half of the funds for the overpass must be allocated in the next 120 days and that the project is expected to employ nearly 1,300 people. “I want jobs created and people going to work as soon as possible,” Gaetz said. As chairman of the Okaloosa-Walton Transportation Planning Organization, Fort Walton Beach City Councilman Bill Garvie pushed hard for the flyover project to receive funding. “I was hoping for this, but to hear about it is exciting,” Garvie. “It had all kinds of things involved in it. You had national security there. You had development of the economy in this area. Those were two major areas here.” Gaetz also said the flyover will be a huge benefit to Eglin Air Force Base, especially with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and the Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) arriving in the near future. “My hope is that this decision by the state of Florida will help send a positive message to the military that we support them, that we put the needs of military missions high on our priority list,” said Gaetz, R-Niceville. “We want to make sure they hear us loud and clear that we want to keep our military mission and we want to keep our military bases.” Other projects being funded by federal stimulus dollars in Okaloosa are the resurfacing of Memorial Parkway, Bay Drive, Country Club Avenue, Yacht Club Drive and Wright Parkway in Fort Walton Beach; reconstruction and landscaping work on Scenic Highway 98 in Destin; and sidewalk work on State Road 285 in Niceville and on Brookmeade Drive in Crestview. Santa Rosa County is expected to receive $11.4 million, most of which will be used to widen Avalon Boulevard. Walton County will get $1.8 million, which will be used to build a pedestrian bridge, sidewalks and for a resurfacing project. Escambia and Bay counties will get a total of about $24 million. If a state cannot move quickly enough on stimulus projects, it could lose its federal funding and the money could be reallocated. If that happens in other states, Gaetz said he will try to secure more funding for Northwest Florida.