A northern Panhandle county is hoping to bring big business to the area...and it starts with making certain sites "certified."
Jackson County is on board with a new program from Gulf Power called the Site Evaluation and Certification program, which aims to help make three sites which have been submitted for review, "ready for building."
Marianna City Manager Jim Dean says there's only one site throughout the state of Florida, in Jacksonville, that is certified.
A site with this status makes it more promising for companies to bring their business here because Dean says there's a certain amount of due diligence that must be done whenever a company or manufacturer go to locate their facility. But if they bring there facility to a "certified" location, that due diligence process is removed.
"You know by having the certification, it's just one of the tools in the toolbox to get someone to come here and open a distribution center, some type of industrial development here in Jackson county," said Dean.
A consulting firm out of North Carolina, McCallum Sweeney, is working with Gulf Power and currently completing a desktop review of Jackson County's three sites, before planning to visit them later this month.
"If they say yes this is a site we can certify, it's time to move on to the next step," said Dean. "Then that's when we would need to start looking at someone to start doing the technical part of it."
The technical part of it, would be the recommendations the firm made in order for the site to be certified. Dean says those costs have yet to be budgeted on behalf of the city.