During 2018, Walton County saw economic development expansions in areas across the county, including the more rural north end.

Bill Imfeld, executive director of the Walton County Economic Development Alliance, said he plans for 2019's pace to be on the same track.

"The city of Freeport is having an economic upsurge," Imfeld said, adding that every EDA-owned parcel in the Freeport Industrial Park sold out during what he called "and extremely successful year."

He said the EDA is working to gain more "shovel ready" parcels to develop into new business opportunities within the year.

The Mossy Head Industrial Park could also add more than 200 "good paying" jobs to the area. However, Imfeld said the EDA is currently competing with other communities for the considered jobs, and that he hopes to have a definite answer by the end of January.

Recent expansions extend into DeFuniak Springs, where Imfeld said there was an increase in food venues in the past year, in addition to more housing opportunities planned for the near future.

"The county's completion of the connector road between U.S. 331 and County Road 280A will enable commercial and housing development, as well as facilitate the undertaking of the Veterans' Lodge project, which will help veterans in need of education, training and other services obtain successful employment," he said.

A Dollar General is also being constructed in Paxton, which he said will bring the city its first new commercial business in more than 10 years. He said its addition ignited the interest of other businesses to set up shop in the northern end of the county, and that the Dollar Store will give residents a convenient shopping alternative.

According to Imfeld, the EDA has high hopes for 2019 and is looking forward to helping DeFuniak, Freeport and Paxton expand.

"For 2019, growth in these areas appears to be unabated, and the diverse job opportunities bodes well not only for local residents, but also arrivals to the area," he said.