Throughout the next five years, Milton and Santa Rosa County are hoping to make changes along the Riverfront to keep the county the “Outdoor Capital of Florida.”

Milton received seven Request for Proposals on Monday indicating consultants interested in developing a Riverfront Master Plan.

The idea of a Master Plan has been discussed for approximately 18 months, according to Milton Planning Manager Randy Jorgenson.

“The need to coordinate, communicate, and collate the numerous existing plans initiated the discussions,” Jorgenson wrote in an email.
The city hopes that a master plan will assess the status of and potential for development along the Riverfront within the city and extending to an area south along the Blackwater River to the southern portion of the Village of Bagdad.

According to city documents, “Over the last century, there has been a clear shift in Milton from an industry-based economy to one based on tourism and recreation. … If Milton, the Village of Bagdad, and Santa Rosa County invite the world, what exactly are we supplying?”

Jorgenson said the cost of the Master Plan is not to exceed $45,000. The City has committed $15,000 and the County, through the Tourism Development Council, $30,000.

Although the plan states that the city and county are looking for direction over a five-year horizon, Jorgensen said that might be a bit too eager.
“(In) a perfect world we would love to implement the elements in the plan within five years. Realistically that will not happen,” he said. “It’s an aggressive schedule. What we do not want is a 20-year plan that isn’t viable five years from now.”

Officials hope that the master plan will provide direction on future development and redevelopment. It will also give the city and county guidance on enhancement of the city and county’s parks system, open spaces, recreation facilities, private sector development, and recreation programs. The Santa Rosa County Courthouse will be part of the study, as the consultants will be determining if the current building will be able to serve the community well in the future.

From here, a review/ selection committee will look over the seven RFPs received and select the team or firm it believes is most qualified.

Jorgensen said the timeline for the projects once a contract is negotiated maybe as soon as 60 to 90 days.