CHELCO, Inc. presented a $2,750 check to the Walton County Economic Development Alliance July 2 to help kick-start a project long on the drawing board.

The contribution will be used to pay for half of the Mossy Head Industrial Park’s site certification, located off State Road 285 near I-10 and U.S. Highway 90 between Crestview and DeFuniak Springs. Gulf Power, which initiated the Northwest Florida-wide certification program, is paying the remaining half.

“This is part of our ongoing commitment to help local communities grow and prosper by creating jobs,” said CHELCO CEO Steve Rhodes. “Economic development is one of our top priorities.”

Rhodes added that the decision to cover Walton County’s share of the certification cost wasn’t made lightly.

“We’re careful about spending because we want our member-owners to feel they’re getting their money’s worth,” he said. “This project has great promise.”      

 Rhodes said tourism, construction and the military are very important job-makers in the area, but it would be helpful to attract other types of businesses to Northwest Florida.

Drawing manufacturers and warehousing and distribution companies to the industrial park would boost the economic prospects of the Emerald Coast by diversifying its economic base, he explained.

Certification amounts to a seal of approval.

The certification process evaluates a site’s strengths and weaknesses. The end result will be an industrial park with power, transportation and telecommunications infrastructure in place, so that businesses can move in and start producing with no wasted time.

“This will certainly help us market the Mossy Head site,” said EDA Director Steve Jaeger. “We want to create jobs. We want a place that attracts companies from around the country and the world.”

He thanked CHELCO for its contribution to the certification project, one that the EDA imagines could also draw the interest of hi-tech firms in the aerospace business.

“We want to express our thanks to CHELCO,” he said. “We’re very grateful for the help and its active participation in this important effort.”