Originally formed as the Pensacola-Escambia County Regional Planning Council in 1964, and later named the West Florida Regional Planning Council (WFRPC), is now the Emerald Coast Regional Council (ECRC). The agency has grown over the last 55 years to encompass seven counties in northwest Florida and their municipalities. Growth of the regional council was driven by recognition that transportation planning was a regional concern. Later, environmental, economic, and criminal justice issues helped spur the addition of more counties, cities, and towns. By 1980, the WFRPC district as it exists today was complete.During the 1980s, many new projects kept the council very busy. Beyond the regular responsibilities and duties related to transportation, land use, and environmental planning, WFRPC became involved in a variety of planning activities including resource management, hurricane studies, ride-sharing programs, bicycle programs, preparation of county base maps, review of census materials, hazardous materials programs, hazardous waste programs, and preparation of comprehensive plans. Also during the 1980s, the council began to provide more and more technical assistance to cities and counties, which continues to be important to smaller municipalities.
To better align and represent the true personality of the region and more closely identify with the world renowned beauty of the Emerald Coast, the WFRPC changed its name to Emerald Coast Regional Council in May 2019. ECRC Chief Executive Officer, Austin Mount, said, “We had a rich history as WFRPC, but we have long surpassed the traditional roles of a regional planning council and we wanted our brand to communicate that. The challenges faced by communities across our region have become more numerous and complex. Regional councils must evolve to effectively partner with municipalities and counties to create innovative solutions to current and future problems. Our evolution is evident with our partners as we continue to build strong relationships and relevancy across the region.”
Today, the ECRC encourages citizens to become involved in the planning process and actively markets many of the programs it undertakes while leveraging the vastness of its outreach to both identify problems, and assist in implementing solutions for problems, across the region. Problems encountered by a growing region rarely observe political boundaries and consequently require inter-governmental solutions. The ECRC is proud to be a part of that solution.Meetings of the Emerald Coast Regional Council Board occur quarterly. Please contact staff for further information at 850-332-7976.