News: DeFuniak group is working to revitalize historic city

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Teresa, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

    Nov 15, 2004
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    South Walton, FL
    DeFuniak group is working to revitalize historic city
    By Nathan Cobb | GateHouse Media Florida
    Posted Aug 5, 2019

    Main Street DeFuniak Springs is working to breathe some life back into the ‘heart of Walton County.’

    DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — A local group claims the Walton County seat will get a facelift within the next three to four years.

    After being organized by a group of “concerned citizens” in 2017, Main Street DeFuniak Springs has been steadily working to breathe some life back into “the heart of Walton County.”

    Recently awarded $100,000 by commissioners, the group’s current mission is to revamp DeFuniak’s downtown area — an area Jay Evan, executive director of the group, said has almost been untouched for decades — along the gateways to the city.

    “We’re really excited about what’s already taking place,” Evans said. “We know when this plan rolls itself out, it’s just going to be more gas on the fire of this redevelopment surge that we’re seeing downtown.”

    With the county’s contribution, the group plans to hire new firms focused on planning, architecture and traffic studies to revitalize the historic district.

    In the near future, Evans hopes to get residents more involved in the renovations, bring more businesses to the area and build a long-term vision for what the town should look like.

    According to County Commissioner Danny Glidewell, the funds were allocated to kick start an area of the county that has fallen behind economically.

    He added that any improvements to downtown DeFuniak — an area that the town is historically known for — would be essential in drawing more businesses into northern Walton County, along with improving the quality of life for citizens.

    “A rising tide floats all boats,” Glidewell said. “If we can improve DeFuniak that helps everyone, north and south.”

    Evans said individual businesses would be responsible for their own renovations, while the city and county were working to fund improvements to public spaces.

    He added that in light of the town’s rumored upcoming development, some businesses have already been inspired to start fixing up their shops. Evans expected more organized construction efforts to begin sometime next year.

    As a city in one of the fastest growing counties in the country, Evans believed downtown DeFuniak Springs would take on a whole new look within the next few years.

    “DeFuniak Springs is seeing that growth,” he said. “We are making a huge investment in our downtown so that we can give the services and the experience to that new growth and be a city that supports all of the tourism that comes into Walton County.”

    DeFuniak group is working to revitalize historic city
  2. Emerald Drifter

    Emerald Drifter Beach Fanatic

    Jun 8, 2018
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    Santa Rosa Beach
    I applaud this. MANY positives with this initiative.

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