WASHINGTON AND HOLMES COUNTIES - As the anniversary of one of the nation's most catastrophic hurricanes nears, a neighboring Washington County is eyeing the construction of a new complex that will change the course of disaster response for the entire Panhandle.
At a proposed capacity between 2,000 and 3,000 people, county officials say the Northwest Florida Disaster Center will serve and support counties throughout the region, as well as people under evacuation orders from other parts of the state.
HC commissioners have written a resolution is support of the proposal.
"Holmes County is 100 percent supportive of it and we're excited to see that and we're backing that project any way we can possibly support it," said Holmes County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Clint Erickson. "We feel the need in our area, it's going to be very beneficial. That's shelter for Holmes County."
The county is currently looking at a location on I-10 and State Road 77. The center is described as being a centralized location for a regional staging area for utility and power companies that could service as west as southeastern Mississippi to much of lower Alabama.
"We're approaching this from a regional approach," said Washington County Manager Jeff Massey. "All counties in the Panhandle support this because they understand if they take a hit in Pensaolca, they have a shelter here; the same for Tallahassee."