Liz Horton

Community center, firefighter training proposed for Navarre

Community center, firefighter training proposed for Navarre

Firefighters from across the region descend on Niceville for a weekend of training with the Northwest Florida Volunteer Firefighter Weekend Council, Inc. (NFVFW) each year, bringing with them money to spend and hotel nights purchased. Santa Rosa County’s Tourist Development Council (TDC) threw their support behind bringing those dollars into Santa Rosa during their meeting […]

Movies by the Dunes coming spring 2020

Movies by the Dunes coming spring 2020

Movies by the Dunes is coming to Navarre Beach next year. The Tourist Development Council (TDC) supported a grant of nearly $5,000 Aug. 1 for the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to host the event.   Read the full article in the Aug. 8 issue of Navarre Press. Visit navarrepress.com/subscribe to view subscription options […]

Paradise gets tourism council thumbs-up

Paradise gets tourism council thumbs-up

Paradise Advertising has likely secured yet another three years of representing Santa Rosa County’s tourism image and the more than $750,000 annually that comes with it. The St. Petersburg-based destination advertising and marketing firm was put forward unanimously as the top pick by a selection committee of local tourism professionals after a competitive request for […]

Navarre Chamber announces new potential home, tourism programming

Navarre Chamber announces new potential home, tourism programming

The Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is eyeing a new forever home, and with that new space comes new programming targeted at Navarre’s largest economic sector: tourism. Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Gail Acosta presented these new programs and a financial ask May 1 to the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC). […]

Tourism council backs funding for wildlife refuge

Tourism council backs funding for wildlife refuge

After balking at a request for nearly half a million dollars, the county’s Tourist Development Council did agree Jan. 3 to fund $117,000 for animal habitats at the new Holley location of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge (ECWR). While ECWR has steadily been securing donations since December 2016, the timeline for completion of the new […]

Bed-tax surge points to strong tourism trend

Bed-tax surge points to strong tourism trend

Shortly after announcing its first $3 million year, the county Tourist Development Office reported Dec. 2 that October’s bed-tax collections blew past the previous October by 51.61 percent. The county brought in $268,125.73 in bed taxes during the month. Read the full article in the Dec. 13 issue of Navarre Press. Click here to subscribe for […]

TDC fed up with two of everything

TDC fed up with two of everything

Two plunges is too many. That was the position taken by Tourist Development Council (TDC) member Liz Horton, a bed tax collector from the south end. She said she is tired of two of everything in Navarre from chamber of commerce breakfasts to events like New Year’s Day plunges. Read the full article in the […]

Tourist Development Council critical of north, south inequity

Tourist Development Council critical of north, south inequity

In the past 10 years, three times as many tourist development dollars were spent in Milton than in Navarre for infrastructure improvements. In contrast, the beach alone accounts for more than half of the dollars generated.               Read the full article in the Oct. 11 issue of Navarre Press. […]

Tourist development project list takes shape

Tourist development project list takes shape

A revisit of the strategic plan resulted in a checklist of projects for the Tourist Development Council (TDC) Sept. 6 as the council weighed where their best investments would be to increase quality of place. Under the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan for the Santa Rosa County TDC, the group charged with oversight of bed taxes collected […]

Election could turn school board topsy-turvy

Election could turn school board topsy-turvy

Some critics of the Santa Rosa County school board say the five-member panel often wields a rubber stamp for District Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. But others wonder if the Aug. 28 election could create an imbalance of influence with a new majority that favors the Santa Rosa Professional Educators (SRPE) teachers union, which is locked in […]

Tourism council balks at Milton Riverwalk fund request

Tourism council balks at Milton Riverwalk fund request

Milton officials faced harsh questioning by members of the Tourist Development Council (TDC) Aug. 2 over whether to commit funds toward the continuing Milton Riverwalk project. Milton City Manager Randy Jorgenson came to the TDC requesting funding for construction of additional Riverwalk pathway along 210 feet of shoreline in downtown Milton next to the Blackwater […]

Santa Rosa to gamble $2 million on industrial park building

Santa Rosa to gamble $2 million on industrial park building

When Garner Economics LLC presented a five-year blueprint for Santa Rosa County’s economic development, owner Jay Garner coined a simple phrase: “No product, no project.” County Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree heeded that advice. Read the full article in the July 26 issue of Navarre Press. Click here to subscribe for as little as $38 per […]

Infrastructure grants off the table

Infrastructure grants off the table

Despite taking a hardline approach in May, the Tourist Development Council (TDC) flip-flopped Tuesday, voting to fund several out of cycle Local Event Marketing Grants just weeks before the TDC’s final budget proposal is due to the county. In doing so they gutted a plan to offer two $10,000 grants for the encouragement of budding […]

Horton withdraws from school board race

Horton withdraws from school board race

Liz Horton of Gulf Breeze has withdrawn from the race for District 5 Santa Rosa County School Board. She filed for the election in January. Horton filed her letter of withdrawal with the Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections May 2. Read the full article in the May 17 issue of Navarre Press. Visit www.navarrepress.com/subscribe […]

Two more candidates seeking south-end school board seats

Two more candidates seeking south-end school board seats

Following contentious contract negotiations with the county’s teachers union, challengers have entered the ring for the three school board seats up for election this year. In the last few weeks, two more candidates have thrown their hats in for the south-end seats on the five-member board. Read the full article in the April 26 issue […]

TDC to drop more meetings, launch project teams

TDC to drop more meetings, launch project teams

In an unscheduled agenda item, the Tourist Development Council (TDC) on Monday discussed cutting its number of meetings each year in half and completely eliminating the committee aspect of the group. Tourism Development Director Julie Morgan said that now the grants process is being handled in one meeting each year, the committee lacked much purpose. […]

Horton enters school board race

Horton enters school board race

Another candidate has thrown their hat into the ring for the upcoming midterm election, and this time it is a Santa Rosa School Board seat. Liz Horton of Gulf Breeze will be seeking election to the District 5 seat which represents Gulf Breeze Elementary, Gulf Breeze Middle, Gulf Breeze High, Oriole Beach Elementary and Woodlawn […]

NABOR hands out annual awards at luncheon

NABOR hands out annual awards at luncheon

The Navarre Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) held its annual awards ceremony and holiday luncheon Dec. 6 at the Navarre Days Inn Conference Center. Immediate Past President Mark Miller passed the gavel to Lorie Coogle. She and the new board of directors took their oath. Coogle’s brother Robbie Louhier, who is blind, performed the swearing […]

Warrior run to receive $15,000 in tourism funds

Warrior run to receive $15,000 in tourism funds

Emerald Coast Warrior Run has been approved for a $15,000 Tourism Development Event Marketing Grant to bring a 5k obstacle course run to the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds in April. This is the first year for the event put on by the Okaloosa County-based Emerald Coast Warriors. Event lead Chandler Robbins said his group hopes to […]

Panel creates funding plan for park upgrades

Panel creates funding plan for park upgrades

After seven hours of argument and compromise, members of the Tourist Development Council (TDC) were able to reach a funding agreement for millions of dollars in Navarre Park improvements. The initial phase of funding would cover roughly $3.6 million for playground equipment, a new splash pad, new east-end restrooms, stormwater improvements and removal of the […]

Tourism panel balks at loan for park redo

Tourism panel balks at loan for park redo

County tourism leaders were hesitant Monday to back plans to pay for nearly $2 million in Navarre Park improvements through more than doubling the loan on the Navarre Beach Visitors Center. Tourist Development Committee (TDC) members in attendance all spoke favorably of the proposal to make some improvements to the park despite negative comments about […]

Tourism council answers rebuke with an invitation

Tourism council answers rebuke with an invitation

Santa Rosa officials bristled at the recent scolding they received from House Speaker Richard Corcoran about the financial practices of the county’s Tourist Development Office. But they rejected a first impulse to fire off a terse letter to Corcoran—deciding instead to invite him here to prove the transparency with which the county handles its annual […]

Budget cuts send chill through tourist industry

Budget cuts send chill through tourist industry

Tallahassee budget cuts could have negative economic impacts close to home. Despite far higher proposals by Gov. Rick Scott, state economic development partnership Enterprise Florida and tourism marketing agency Visit Florida will see sharp funding reductions under the budget passed last week by the Florida House of Representatives and Senate. Read the full article in […]

Bed tax report fluke prompts evaluation of methods

Bed tax report fluke prompts evaluation of methods

In a county that hadn’t seen a month without growth in its bed tax revenue since June 2015, to get a report showing a nearly 20 percent drop in collections can be a shock to the system. Read the full article in the April 13 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as […]

Does spring break boost beach profits?

Does spring break boost beach profits?

Do spring break crowds translate to higher bed tax collections? The simple answer is yes … and no. “We are busy. The lobby is full every time I am here,” remarked Liz Horton of Wyndham by Resort Quest, who chairs the Tourism Development Committee Board. Read the full article in the March 30 issue of […]

On the Turtle Trail for conservation, education

On the Turtle Trail for conservation, education

County tourism staff have begun working with the Santa Rosa Arts and Culture Foundation (SRACF) on the creation of a third, roughly $5,000, 5-foot-tall, sea turtle statue to be added to the county’s Turtle Trail, a project similar to the Pelican Trail in Pensacola. Read the full article in the Feb. 9 issue of Navarre […]

Tourism development office makes big plans for 2018

Tourism development office makes big plans for 2018

Tourism Development Director Julie Morgan revealed plans for fiscal year 2018 including the addition of a new “social liaison” staff member and the creation of a traveling visitor’s center. The mobile visitor’s center would be set up in an airstream trailer. Read the full article in the Feb. 2 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online […]

Tourism focus groups lacks focus

Tourism focus groups lacks focus

President of destination marketing consulting firm Zeitgeist Consulting, Inc. Bill Geist met last week with tourism stakeholders, the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council board of directors and the county’s new ad agency, Paradise Advertising, to shape the future of tourism and rebrand Santa Rosa County. The county paid $13,500 plus travel expenses to Zeitgeist […]

Lack of accommodation stay info frustrates tourism officials

Lack of accommodation stay info frustrates tourism officials

Most hotel managers balk at sharing details of their occupancy rates without assurance those figures won’t be made available to competitors, yet Santa Rosa tourism officials are about to mount a new effort to obtain that data. The month-to-month figures are considered important in the planning of leisure industry promotions, but the Santa Rosa County […]

Busy Labor Day weekend despite weather

Busy Labor Day weekend despite weather

Despite dwindling attendance along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Hermine, Navarre Beach bed-tax collectors reported maxed out occupancy for the three-day Labor Day weekend. As CNBC warned travelers to rethink their Florida travel plans, hotels in Panama City Beach reported high cancellations due to the storm and discounted rates to recapture those […]