A Retirement Community Could Come to South Walton

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The Panhandle already attracts a large number of retirees and winter visitors.

The St. Joe Company wants more retirees to make South Walton their permanent home.

Company officials are proposing a retirement community, similar to The Villages community located in Central Florida.

"We have a lot of people that decide to retire down here, so whether we have an actual community that is for seniors, which we don't have we still have a lot of retirees that are here, and they live in places like Seaside and those communities,” said Louis Svehla the Public Information Officer for Walton County. “And when it isn't tourist season, we tend to cater to and older crowd."

The company will hold public meetings to get reaction from residents.

After the meetings, The St. Joe Company will have to file paperwork with the County Planning Department.

If the planning commission approves the project, it would be up to County Commissioners to either approve or reject the plans.

Retirees have their opinions.

"That would be wonderful, I have seen places like this before, and I don't think there is a better way to go,” said one snowbird from Michigan.

"It has its value, it is not a place I would like to go because I like being around all people, even young people. But I can see how it can have its appeal,” said another retiree, Bill Brown.

St. Joe officials are holding a public meeting Tuesday night in Panama City Beach, and another Wednesday night in Santa Rosa Beach.