MILTON — Avalon Boulevard is one of the main throughways into the communities of Milton and Pace. The long stretch of road has seen many changes over the years with road construction, the additions of two schools in the mid-2000s and businesses opening and closing that have impacted its economic development. 

Now in a surprise move by the county, the Santa Rosa County courthouse and the Santa Rosa County Chamber are in the process of constructing new buildings on Avalon, which, according to Commissioner Sam Parker and chamber president Donna Tucker, will have a big impact on the economic growth on the boulevard for commercial and property owners.

Parker said when the courthouse is completed, he believes people on Avalon will see an increase in traffic flow for commercial businesses and property values for home owners.

"I think it will be phenomenal," Parker said. "I have already talked to restaurant owners who are very excited to see the construction (on the courthouse) start."

Parker said he certainly thinks once the courthouse opens more businesses will start moving in on Avalon Boulevard and the surrounding streets. He said  he believes home owners will see the value in their properties go up and more people will begin selling their homes, which might be converted to commercial properties in the future. 

"It may not happen overnight," he said. 

Parker said Avalon's economic outlook took a big hit when the Moors Golf & Racquet Club closed in 2010. He said the new buildings going up are great for the community.

Tucker said the chamber chose Avalon for the new building after conversations with the county and researching where the best area would be to put a tourism building for Milton. Tucker said according to research done by the county, Avalon Boulevard and Highway 90 was the busiest intersection in the area. Tucker said after they found that, out they chose Avalon as the site for their new building for the convenience and visibility of the tourist.

Tucker said the addition of the buildings are going enhance the area's businesses, something she is looking forward to.

"It already has (enhanced local businesses) and I think the courthouse is really going to help them," Tucker said.