Study offers ideas to boost Carrabelle economy

Published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 01:52 PM.

A new study suggests Carrabelle’s future is tied to tourism and elder care.

A study of Carrabelle’s economy, funded by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), recommends converting vacant condominiums into assisted living units and updating business district zoning.

At Carrabelle’s Aug. 1 city meeting, Ray Greer, representing Stantec Consulting, Inc., and Bruce Lyon of Swan Development Advisors, a subcontractor to Stantec, spoke on the city’s demographics and economy and made recommendations for future development based on the DEO study.

The study deals with the entire 32322 zip code, rather than just incorporated Carrabelle. Greer said Stantec collected information from numerous sources, including a March 14 public workshop led by Lyon, an economist, and attended by more than 20 Carrabelle residents.

Lyon began by explaining that two industries that traditionally fueled Carrabelle’s economy, construction and commercial fishing, are both in decline. He said Carrabelle must broaden its economic base and could expand on its third traditional industry, tourism, through rezoning and changes to the city’s business culture.

But, the study said, the make-up of Carrabelle’s population poses special challenges to economic development.

In spite of the fact the number of Carrabelle adults of prime childbearing age, 25 to 34, is 26 percent higher than the state average and 15 percent higher than the national average, the study said Carrabelle is somewhat older than the state and nation.

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