With Flagler County’s population poised to grow by as much as 60,000 in the next quarter century, now is the time to prepare for the future. That is the message behind the Palm Coast/Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce Future of Flagler Forum, set for Feb. 23.
“One of the original visions we had when we were putting the Chamber together was to analyze what the future of Flagler County would look like,” said Greg Blosé, chamber president and CEO. “We have a significant amount of growth heading our way.”
Blosé said with growing communities to the north and south – in St. Johns and Volusia counties – “we need to have a conversation now about what we want our community to look like.”
The forum will feature a public dialogue on the future of the county and its municipalities and includes Flagler County Administrator Heidi Petito, Palm Coast interim city manager Denise Bevan, Bunnell City Manager Alvin Jackson, Flagler Beach City Manager William Whitson and Beverly Beach town clerk Jim Ardell.
Issues to be covered include the current and future state of the Flagler County economy, aligning education and training with future workforce demands, transportation and infrastructure improvements, trade logistics, tourism, health and education and a look at Flagler County’s brand and reputation as well as legislative and strategic visions.
Blosé said the Chamber is perfectly positioned to be the convener of important community-wide conversations.
“We want to try to start to put our hands around what is the right way to have this longer-term outlook,” he said.
Blosé said the Forum effort follows other Chamber initiatives, such as the CEO Roundtable.
“With our CEO Roundtable, we have a committed group of about two dozen high-level business leaders that are concerned about the vision of the community and making sure we are steering it in the right direction,” he said. “There are real people behind this, not just the Chamber.”
Petito said she was invited to participate on the Forum to share the vision for Flagler County and the importance of strategic planning.
“This planning provides the framework that makes clear the opportunities and benefits of working with our municipalities, other government agencies and community partners for the betterment of the community,” she said.
Blosé said it is important for elected leaders, government officials along with business and community groups to share ideas and talk about issues.
For Petito, the event is a chance to cultivate and extend partnerships across the county.
“This is also a wonderful opportunity to get together with representatives of our business community to discuss our individual strengths so that we can collectively arrive at our common ground: providing the services and amenities to provide a high quality of life for our residents and visitors,” she said.
The Forum begins at 11 a.m. on Feb. 23 and runs until 1:30 p.m. Tickets to the live event with lunch are available through the Chamber at https://palmcoastflaglerregionalchamber.com.
A livestream of the event will also be available.