Slowly but surely the business climate in Milton is warming up. A number of businesses have newly opened or reopened either in downtown Milton proper or on the fringes of the city in key locations.
Some new businesses are Steph and Ellie's on Berrhill Road and Boomerang Antiques on Willing Street.
Population figures are also inching upward at a relatively rapid pace. An estimated population growth from 8,826 in 2010 to 8,984 in 2011 is substantially significant, and improved school scores garnered Milton the No. 17 spot for growing cities in a University of Florida study.
Mayor Guy Thompson wants the population to grow.
“A growing population of families in turn will generate more business and more development,” Thompson said.
Of paramount importance is the future of the Santa Rosa County Courthouse. The indecision to remodel or relocate it is keeping some professionals and business owners, like lawyers and retailers, at bay.
One of the most recent businesses that have located downtown is the new Boomerang Antique Mall. It is situated at 5227 Willing St., the former home of Polka-dots General Store
“In the antiques business, the rule of thumb is ‘the more the merrier’,” Deb and Gary Pruitt said.
The location of this store will bridge the gap between the Copper Possum on Highway 90 just to the east and the Old Post Office Antiques and Gifts and Junque, just one block west.
Milton is rich with opportunities, but until the decision of what to do with the courthouse is made, the onrush of major businesses will probably not happen.
Main Street Milton is actively engaged in promoting the revitalization of downtown, also. Josh Wilks recently announced the event of a new smart phone app that will serve as a guide for individuals and groups to negotiate the city’s streets and historic places as well as Santa Rosa County’s general attractions and lodging facilities.
The most important elements interwoven throughout the advancement of the city’s physical growth are caution and contemplation.
According to Mayor Guy Thompson, he and the Milton City Council are making sure that it all comes together in a cohesive manner.
To be productive it must “…grow the right way.”