MILTON — The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Information Center has stood on Stewart Street since 1984.

However, with 450 people meeting each month for various events at the present location, the chamber has outgrown the building and its adjacent parking lot. 

“We have been looking at constructing a new building for the past five years,” said Donna Tucker, the chamber’s president and CEO. “We have substantial donors on board, but will not break ground on a new building until we have raised 85 percent of the funds needed.”

The project — set for completion by November, according to Tucker — has an estimated budget of $774,000.  

“We have in-kind donations exceeding $200,000,” Tucker said. “We have got $229,000 cash donated right now.”

Among donations is a $120,000 contribution from the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council.

Sponsorships from $1,000 to $20,000 are available; plaques throughout the new building will recognize sponsors.

The chamber of commerce is a non-profit organization and the building project falls under a 501c3 category. All money raised is tax-deductible.

Archie Collum, a local builder, has spearheaded plans for the new headquarters, which is inspired by the Asa May House in Capps, Fla. Some changes will be made due to it being a commercial building, but a lot of attention will be given to detail.

“It will be a nod to the Old South with the technological advances of today,” Tucker said.

Two acres are needed for both the building and parking lot, which will be located on Avalon Boulevard, 3 miles from the chamber’s present location, 3 miles north of Interstate 10 and 1 mile south of State Road 90.

So, how is the project coming along, officially?

Its status will be announced during the chamber’s annual banquet, to be held Jan. 28.

For now, one thing is certain.

“Our focus after the banquet is to make this project a true community project,” Tucker said. 


WHAT: Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Information Center’s 80th Annual Leadership Awards & Installation Banquet

WHEN: 6 p.m. Jan. 28

WHERE: Santa Rosa County Auditorium, 4530 Spikes Way, Milton

COST: $50 per person