BOCC Approves $55K In Economic Development Funds To Benefit 50 Century Area Businesses

July 19, 2019

The Escambia County Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a $55,000 economic development allocation for the Century Area Chamber of Commerce that will directly benefit up to 50 locally owned businesses in the Century, McDavid, Walnut Hill and Molino areas.

The county had $80,500 in remaining Century area economic development funds that were previously budgeted for the last two fiscal years, and there is an additional $50,000 is under consideration for the upcoming fiscal year beginning October 1.

With the allocation approved Thursday, each of the first 50 eligible businesses to apply will receive a marketing package that includes 200,000 display ads at no cost on before November 30, a free business spotlight story on, and a free one year membership in the Century Area Chamber of Commerce.  The package to be received by each business is valued at $3,300 for a total project value of $165,000.

Businesses can apply beginning Monday morning on

The Century Chamber will also use a portion of the funding for a business speaker series and special events. The Century town government is not involved with the project or funding.

“(The chamber) sees this an opportunity to be able to highlight some businesses that are in that community,” Escambia County District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry said. “The Century Chamber of Commerce is not restricted to the town limits. It is the Century Area Chamber of Commerce, so other communities in the north end would have access to make applications for this.”

The Chamber requested the funding after approval of their board of directors on July 9.

“This proposal will implement several tactics included in the Town of Century’s Economic Development Strategic Plan and will also guide the newly formed Community Redevelopment Agency in planning efforts to implement the Century Community Redevelopment Plan,” Century Chamber President Mary Hudson Bourgeois wrote in a funding request letter to Barry. “In addition, the proposal will further the interests of businesses by revitalizing the Century Area Chamber of Commerce through advocating on behalf of the north Century area business community. The Chamber wholly supports this endeavor.”

Barry said, “If through this process we can achieve some degree of success and highlight some businesses that a lot of citizens are not aware of…if we can increase traffic, increase foot traffic, increase awareness for professional or other type services. If we ended up having say even five businesses that expanded by a couple or three people apiece, that type of impact would be more impactful than what I have been able t0 successfully accomplish up there in the past.”

In the past, county economic development dollars for Century have funded a paid staff person at the chamber. “That didn’t seem to have a lot of bottom line effect,” Barry said. The county also funded a staff person after the Haas Center developed a Six Pillars economic development plan. “Not to knock the outcome of the study, but that effect of that is debatable at best,” he said.

During Thursday’s BOCC meeting, Commissioner Doug Underhill said, “This is exactly that kind of thing that I would think we would be doing. So I second it wholeheartedly. It strikes me, I like that fact that is is very indigenous and really just giving local businesses who are already taxpayers here the opportunity to step it up a notch, and that is what I think our economic development should be focused on. So I am very much supportive of it.”

“I concur,” Commission Chairman Lumon May said.”I think that is good indicator to FloridaWest and to the Gulf Coast Minority Chamber of a direction in which we may be going.” The BOCC also provides economic development funding to the FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance at the Gulf Coast Minority Chamber of Commerce.

“What is important here is that not one dollar of taxpayer money is going to pay someone’s salary. This is going to put something on the ground, and I think that is the challenge with the Minority Chamber and with all of PEDC (The Pensacola-Escambia Promotion and Development Commission)…there’s just nothing to show for that at the end of the day,” Underhill added.

Pictured top: Escambia County District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry explains his economic development recommendation for the Century area Thursday afternoon. Pictured inset: Commissioner Doug Underhill. Pictured below: The Escambia Commission unanimously approved the economic development allocation for the Century Area Chamber of Commerce.


2 Responses to “BOCC Approves $55K In Economic Development Funds To Benefit 50 Century Area Businesses”

  1. Century Resident on July 19th, 2019 8:41 pm

    Thank you. We hope it bears fruit.

  2. Dave on July 19th, 2019 5:41 am

    “The Century town government is not involved with the project or funding”
    That is a very wise decision indeed

Have a comment on this story?

We welcome your comments on this story, but there are some rules to follow::

(1) Be Nice. No comments that slander another, no racism, no sexism, no personal attacks.

(2) No Harrassing Comments. If someone says something bad about you, don't respond. That's childish.

(3) No Libel. That's saying something is not true about someone. Don't do it.

(4) Keep it clean. Nothing vulgar, obscene or sexually related. No profanity or obvious substitutions. Period.

(5) reserves the right to remove any comments that violate our rules or we think to be inappropriate. We are not responsible for what is posted. Comments may not appear right away until they are approved by a moderator.

(6) Limit your comments to the subject in this story only, and limit comments to 300 words or less. Do not post copyrighted material. Comments will not be added to stories that are over 30 days old.

(7) No posts may advertise a commercial business or political group, or link to another commercial web site or political site of any kind.