Parker's city council members and mayor are looking to "clean up" the city, and the mayor has an idea that could be a win-win for Parker and near-by Tyndall Air Force Base.
Mayor Rich Musgrave is looking to attract more people to the area, and said the city just needs to remind people what it has to offer. Parker is only about two square miles but has nearly 12 miles of shoreline, which provides a lot of waterfront property and water access.
"It's my understanding a long, long time ago this was actually a very desirable place that people wanted to live in," said Musgrave.
Today, some buildings in the city sit empty, not bringing in any income and some with for sale signs.
Musgrave said about 17 percent of the city's residential properties are vacant, which isn't a concern. But, he is concerned about the 35 vacant commercial properties. That's about a fourth of the city's business spaces.
"I think you have to address the residential side of it first before you address the business side because it's not the old if you build it, they will come," said Musgrave.
Tyndall Air Force Base is expecting a new squadron to move to Bay County in the near future. Hundreds of members and their families will need a home. Kathy McCoy with Tyndall's Housing Office said those families often use a database of available properties to find a house in the area.
"When it comes to the housing, individuals who have rentals they would like to lease to the military or civilians who are on the base, they contact our office. We give them information which is the Automated Housing Referral Network," said McCoy.
Musgrave said he hopes homeowners looking to sale or rent take advantage of the network. He also wants to provide special incentives to those military members making Parker their new home. It's just the first step in efforts to "clean up" the city and provide a welcome home for some of its future residents.
Any homeowner in any Bay County city looking to sale or rent can register their property on the Automated Housing Referral Network. However, only military members and Department of Defense civilians can search for homes on the database.
For additional information about housing, call Tyndall's Housing Office at (850) 283-8141.