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Esto: Big changes in a small town

ESTO – The small town of Esto has been taking big steps to make the town a better place for its residents, with several economic improvement projects recently coming to fruition after years of groundwork.

The town will see a new business in the coming months with the announcement of a combined Family Dollar and Dollar Tree store which should be completed before Fall 2021.

The Town Council also gained a Brownfield designation through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), making Esto the only town in Holmes County to do so. The designation makes the community eligible for funding assistance from the EPA and through other programs for remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites, which will ultimately result in higher land values.

Thanks to a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) totaling $600,000, officials have also made improvements to the townÂ’s water system. Those improvements include extending the main water line on Highway 79, installation of 12 new distribution lines, a new notification system for one the townÂ’s wells, and an electrical generator. Esto also used the funds to completely refurbish the water tower. These improvements build upon previous infrastructure upgrades, new water lines which were installed in 2017 on the outlying roads.

A Florida Department of Transportation Small County Outreach Program (SCOP) grant allowed for the paving of Commerce Street from Third Street, down to Fourth Street, and up to Highway 79. The project also included all the signage and striping on the road. 

The John Clark Park Community Center also received a complete renovation, including new bathrooms, plumbing, doors, windows, and air conditioning units. 

With a population of 385 residents in a five square mile radius, Esto has been able to increase its ad valorem revenue from 0.63 to 2.5 since 2016. 

Town Clerk Yvonee Hagans says there is no growth without change. “We cannot grow without change and innovation,” said Hagans. “The steps the council have been taking are leading to positive change for our community.” 

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