MILTON — Milton Mayor Wesley Meiss spoke at a Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association meeting Wednesday at Grover T’s BBQ to let the hospitality industry know that “Milton is open for business.”
His talk covered multiple pro-growth and pro-business points in the city.
Milton and Santa Rosa County, for instance, are moving toward making Sunday alcohol sales legal; Milton within city limits and Santa Rosa County north of the Yellow River.
Further, the city is working to capitalize more on the river, Meiss said.
A city event, Bands on the Blackwater, draws between 2,000 and 3,000 people on Fridays during the spring and fall concert series, according to Meiss.
“This Riverwalk, this extension southward, is going to be a key piece of our master plan … right where the Bands on the Blackwater is put on each season,” Meiss said.
The city also wants to determine how to bring more retail options, like restaurants and grocery stores, to the city, and hired Retail Strategies, a national firm that partners with cities, to put together a plan to make this happen, Meiss said.
“A lot of people that live in the city of Milton are simply tired of driving … 7 miles to Pace to go to Wal-Mart, to go to Target, to get something to eat, to go to a restaurant,” Meiss said.
Another city growth effort is building a wastewater treatment plant. The current sewer plant can’t expand, and will reach capacity, according to current growth trends, by 2025, Meiss said.
“The current waste water treatment plant we have in Milton is operating at about 1.75 million gallons per day. It’s a 2.5 million gallon per day plant,” he said.
The city’s economic concern is having to tell future companies they can’t move into the Santa Rosa Industrial Complex unless they want to handle their own water, Meiss said.
Finally, Meiss praised Pensacola’s investment in its downtown area in business and housing.
“I think Milton can do the same,” he said.