Years and years ago, the competition for industry to move Santa Rosa or Escambia was fierce. Often both entities were romancing the same businesses to move to the Florida Panhandle and settle in one county or the other. Escambia used to "win" quite often. Then Santa Rosa worked on incentives and the Industrial Park - and as years passed, Santa Rosa began hit some home runs and ended up with companies like Clearwire (which has now moved to Pensacola) and, more recently, Priton. There have been many significant businesses who have chosen Santa Rosa as home, offering our residents - and our neighboring county's residents - work.
A couple of months ago, it was announced that a major business in Pensacola was moving to Milton. Around that same time a swing in thinking seemed to fall in place from just west of us. Next thing we know, the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce is over here at one of our county commission meetings making a presentation. Our commissioners apparently saw value in what they said and now a multi-county effort is being advertised through the Penascola Chamber. It shows on the Greater Pensacola website under Economic Development that Escambia County/Pensacola has partnered with many local agencies and governments, including several in Santa Rosa County. Including Santa Rosa County itself.
Looks like we have been assimilated.
There is nothing wrong with working together as a team. However, at a glance, it might appear we are being used to lure companies here in the guise of being a "team" with our stats and our contributions helping the effort when the truth is, if companies come to the Greater Pensacola Area and choose Escambia County to settle, there is little benefit to us.
Being absorbed into "the Greater Pensacola area" does not seem like a good idea.
We don't need an older sibling to hold our hand or wipe our nose.
Santa RosaCountyhas come into its own very nicely over the past decade or so. It has the better schools and the lower crime rate. We don't have shootings on the news every night. Sit at the corner of Woodbine Rd. and Hwy. 90 during morning or afternoon rush hour and we won't have to tell you where many people who work in Pensacola choose to live.
If you go to the website and read the strategic plan for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, it sounds really good. But the truth is, many of the programs and initiatives they speak of are already in place for Santa Rosa County.
Yes, having a partner in any venture can pool resources, offer more voices in any situation that requires a show of strength in dealing with state or federal government.
We can be neighbors and we can share ideas. But to actually lose our identity to the Greater Pensacola Area and be included with a county that has more crime, more homeless, basically more problems on a greater scale doesn't sound beneficial at all.