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The goal of #KeepCalCoRural is to encourage citizens and leaders to support Calhoun County via the outdoors through conservation, recreation, and specific business investments! Through this initiative we are strongly advocating for a State Park in Calhoun County and for Calhoun County to create a cohesive "community brand" that encourages smart economic growth through conservation efforts, intentional cosmetic improvements, strategic small businesses growth, and outdoor recreation tourism while maintaining our rural way of life. This not only includes government & community leaders understanding the goal but citizens as well. Please see the brief outlines below to understand the why and how and what you can do to help! 

Calhoun County's richest resource is it's natural landscapes. The farmland, rivers, creeks, streams, timberland forests all play an important role in making Calhoun County special. While these resources need to be protected, they can also be marketed to help boost the local economy. Economic growth can take on many forms but we believe that Calhoun County has the most to offer when we utilize what we already have. For years locals have recognized the need for growth however longed for the rural way of life to remain. Often times these two things don't seem to go together but we believe they can as long as there is a cohesive plan and it's executed properly. 

WHY

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GOAL: Boost the economy while maintaining a "historical small town" feel. 

Instead of focusing solely on factories or shift jobs that 1. we don't have the workforce for or 2. no millennials or gen z'ers are going to work, we should shift our thinking to our people. What do they enjoy? What industries would best fit into our "community brand"? And what industries or infrastructure we should say NO to...

SMALL BUSINESS EXAMPLES

  • Bait & Tackle Shops

  • Bike Shops

  • Gun & Ammo Shops

  • Outdoor Gear Shops

  • Farm/Feed Shops

  • Family Owned Restaurants

  • Farm Tours

  • Farm Cafes and Activities

  • Tubing, Kayaking Rentals

  • Hunting & Fishing Guides

  • ATV and Horseback Riding

  • Varietal Clothing Boutiques

  • Salons and Spas

  • Bed & Breakfasts

  • RV Parks/ Campgrounds

  • Local Hotels/Air BNB

  • Outdoor Recreation Park (zip lines, tubing, tree house climbs)

LARGER BUSINESS EXAMPLES

  • Apiaries

  • Outdoor Recreation Brands (REI, Bass Pro, Columbia, Orca Coolers) 

  • Grocers

  • Farming

  • Training facilities

  • Trucking Companies

  • Construction/Land Companies

Economic development comes in many forms. Most notably people tend to think of increasing jobs, cosmetic improvements, & bringing in tourism. So how do we do that without growing too much too fast, or losing our identity?

JOBS:

HOW

COSMETIC IMPROVEMENTS:

Beyond simply cleaning up the rivers (removing hurricane and trash debris) and communities with ongoing maintenance projects like painting, planting flowers, creating vibrant public green spaces, pressure washing sidewalks and buildings...What do we mean we when ask what aesthetic would best fit into our "community brand"?  Well, think of places like Helen, GA, Oxford, MS, Kennebunkport, ME, Salem, MA or Woodstock, VT...They all have a "brand" that matches what they offer. Their aesthetic is rooted in their history and local industries. People can see images of these places and instantly know where they're from. 

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So what is the "brand" of CalCo? Well, founded in 1838 Calhoun County has a rich Native American and Pioneer history. Obviously the rivers (Apalachicola, and Chipola) play a large role in defining our "image" as well. If you're looking for an "aesthetic" that makes sense then look at the Old Calhoun County Courthouse, or the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement. The Commerce Building or Dewberry's in Blountstown. Late 1800s/Early 1900s architecture with nature/farming being a key highlight. 

A sportsman's paradise, the timberlands, rivers, and farms provide a naturally beautiful, rural backdrop. 

Granted some revitalization needs to take place but the backdrop is there if you can envision it. Imagine a bustling downtown filled with sporting goods stores, cute boutiques, restaurants and general stores with curated products focused on the area's history. (Native American artifacts, 1800-1900s Antiques, Tupelo Honey, Cane Syrup, Cathead Biscuits, Boating/Canoeing gear & more)

All with beautifully renovated red brick facades, some modern signage, and manicured entry ways. People like pretty things. People like peaceful things. Locals and visitors alike. That's why well manicured, tranquil, quaint places are the most commonly visited. That's why those same places are popular on Instagram and Tik Tok. People like to showcase pretty places and things. 

TOURISM

How do we attract people to the area? Well...an organized marketing campaign would help but first several things need to happen...This has to be a forward, and upward moving plan where all the pieces work in lock step together until it's a success. For instance, many may think its not logical to open a small business that relies solely on tourism until there's a good tourism base...but tourists will never come unless there's stuff to do. Tourists don't have to be people from up north or multiple states away...they can be visitors from neighboring Florida counties or the Dothan & Bainbridge areas.

 

All it takes is having things to do, & places to see & letting the world know about them.

Get things cleaned up and prepared to be marketed. When the time is right a joint marketing campaign between the City of Blountstown, Town of Altha, BOCC, & local civic organizations like The Chamber, The Community Foundation, and Mainstreet needs to be launched. We believe the target market for said marketing campaign should be the following: 

  • Visitors already planning to travel to the beaches. 

  • People nearby within "day trip" range...(Bainbridge, Apalachicola, Dothan, Tallahassee, etc)

  • Outdoor recreation enthusiasts (state park visitors, retirees, young families) 

*We acknowledge and understand several groups are already actively working to clean things up and move forward. We are simply proposing a vision for what we believe Calhoun County can become if we all work together and plan properly. Without a clear, unified, vision, and by working blind separately with divided efforts, it opens the door for missed opportunities, and disjointed results.

TOURISM EXAMPLES

SHOPPING & DINING

  • Bait & Tackle Shops

  • Bike Shops

  • Antique Shops

  • Gun & Ammo Shops

  • Outdoor Gear Shops

  • Farm/Feed Shops

  • Family Owned Restaurants

  • Unique Gift Shops

  • Bakeries/Pastry/Dessert Shops

  • Varietal Clothing Boutiques

  • Salons and Spas

OUTDOOR RECREATION

  • ​State Park

  • Camping

  • Hiking

  • Swimming

  • Tubing

  • Kayaking

  • Hunting & Fishing 

  • ATVs & Off Road Parks

  • Horseback Riding

  • Outdoor Recreation Park (zip lines, tubing, tree house climbs)

  • Bird Watching

THINGS TO DO/WHERE TO STAY

  • Farm Tours

  • Farm Cafes and Activities

  • Pioneer Settlement

  • M&B Depot Museum

  • Mayhaw Living History Museum

  • Goat Day

  • Florida River Fest

  • North FL Wildflower Fest

  • Kinard Carnival

  • Painting class or Mystery Dinner at the Landing Lodge at Scott's Ferry

  • Events at Sweet Magnolia Bakery

  • Bed & Breakfasts

  • RV Parks/ Campgrounds

  • Local Hotels/Air BNBs

WHAT

What can you do to support the KCR campaign? 

  • Promote Calhoun County online! Share events and things to do on your socials.

  • Support LOCAL! Shop, dine and participate in local events! 

  • Sign our State Park Petition HERE!

  • Start a business centered around our area's history or outdoor recreation. 

  • Buy a KCR T-Shirt (coming soon)! Funds from our KCR shirts will help support our conservation efforts, State Park initiative, and local marketing efforts.

*Again we acknowledge and understand several groups are already actively working to clean things up and move forward. We are simply proposing a vision for what we believe Calhoun County can become if we all work together and plan properly. Without a clear, unified, vision, and by working blind separately with divided efforts, it opens the door for missed opportunities, and disjointed results.

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