The City of Crestview received its charter from the Florida Legislature and was officially incorporated in 1916. Crestview's name was chosen because it is located on the peak of a long woodland range between the Yellow and Shoal rivers, which flow almost parallel on the east and west side of the city. After Okaloosa County was formed by the State Legislature in 1915, from portions of western Walton County and eastern Santa Rosa County, Crestview became the County Seat in 1917 and remains so today.
Crestview is located at the junction of three major highways; U.S. 90, State Road 85, and Interstate Highway 10, which resulted in its acclaimed designation as the "Hub City" of northwest Florida. The City is 50 miles east of Pensacola, 120 miles west of Tallahassee, and 30 miles inland from the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Crestview's elevation of 235 feet above sea level places it as one of the highest points in the state. It receives 65 inches of rainfall annually...the most in the State of Florida. Also, the city was designated as a Main Street Program Community in 1997 by the Florida Department of State.
The CSX, Inc. railroad runs through Crestview. Parallel with this railroad is the Old Spanish Trail which extends from Jacksonville west to El Paso, Texas, thus being one of the great truck lines of the country and rich in tradition and history of the Indian, French, Spanish and English settlers in this nation.
If one should wonder what has happened to make Crestview the thriving, friendly, fast growing city we know today, it might be said that it was a fabled fountain of gold or silver. In actuality, it was the dreams and visions of the staunch and sturdy few who were living here in 1915. These early residents realized the natural advantages offered at this particular site for the building of a city and they set out to provide the foundation for such an undertaking.
The City of Crestview formally adopted the Community Redevelopment Agency concept in 1995 for the expressed purpose of development and redevelopment within a defined community redevelopment area, which encompasses all of the downtown area. The CRA Board adopted a Community Redevelopment Plan, which was sanctioned by the Florida Department of Community Affairs.
In 1997, the City applied, and was approved, for a Main Street Program designation by the Secretary of State.
In 1998, the City hired a full time Main Street Program Director and assisted in the establishment of the Main Street Crestview Association, Inc., whose membership consists of business owners, citizens and other interested parties desiring to revitalize the downtown area.
From 1996 through 2003, the City embarked on a three-phase development effort to construct a major streetscape project in the CRA area. All three phases were earmarked for the restoration of Main Street to the tune of $3.7 million, funded by Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues, state grants and general revenue funds.
The Okaloosa County Veterans Memorial, Inc., an organization established to honor deceased veterans during wartime, spearheaded the effort to erect a War Memorial adjacent to the Okaloosa County Courthouse that was dedicated in March 2003. Meanwhile, business owners and merchants are busy restoring commercial properties to meet the new Florida Building Code. A new zoning code has been formulated to focus on downtown properties to compliment historic preservation efforts underway.
Here in Crestview you will find an assortment of comfortable homes, churches, schools, recreational facilities, businesses, and industries all working together as a happy, growing city. The city's public safety departments, under a stable and prosperous city government working to make this city a wonderful place to live, protect all these things while the related services of the city ensure we uphold our commitment to provide services second to none.