Last updated: 4/26/2018
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Highlands County FL
Highlands County is located in the Heartland Florida region consisting of five other central inland counties (DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, and Okeechobee). This county was formed in 1921 along with Hardee, Glades, and Charlotte as the 1920s Florida land boom was gaining traction.
Highlands was so named after the elevated terrain of its land territory which sprawls at 1,017 square miles. The county’s area also features 89 square miles of water accounted for by several large lakes and extensive river systems. The Kissimmee River bounds Highlands on the east, while Lake Istokpoga, the county’s largest lake, spreads from the middle to the eastern side of the county. Two canals—an inflow and an outflow—notably link this lake to the Kissimmee River.
Towns and Cities
Sebring is Highlands’ county seat and largest city, which was founded in 1912. It is known as the city on the circle and was named after a local pioneer, George Sebring. He conceptualized the circular plan that served as the focal point of the development of this city on the southern shores of Lake Wales Ridge.
Another city, Avon Park, the town of Lake Placid, plus 13 unincorporated communities constitute all of Highlands County. Among the pride of local residents is the Sebring International Raceway which hosts the sports car racing championship 12 Hours of Sebring. Another popular destination nearby is the Highlands Hammock State Park.
Prospective home buyers looking for dramatic residential views in Highlands County would be well-advised to prowl around Lake Placid. This community is located on the east flank of a high ridge of U.S. 27 beside its namesake lake. Downtown Lake Placid likewise stands out with the striking murals painted on the walls of its buildings, some covering several stories of the structures.
For a nostalgic 1940s community environment, the place to settle would be Avon Park. It also draws home buyers with its water-based recreational activities in Lake Verona which dominates the area between Highway 64 and the vast grounds of the Avon Park Shuffleboard Courts.
Total Community Package
The quality of living in Highlands County is further enhanced by local business and economic opportunities. Commercial enterprises thrive in this county because of its central Florida location providing strategic linkages with many of the state’s metro markets. Given this market connectivity advantage, operating costs are between 12 and 15 percent lower in Highlands compared with its neighboring business centers. Specific ventures that flock to this county are focused on agriculture, healthcare, logistics and distribution, aviation, manufacturing and information technology.
Business locators can bank on a robust, regional workforce of 125,000 in Highlands County, as well as a talent pipeline of over than 22,000 students. These assets are matched with quality infrastructure and a hospitable business climate with plenty of incentives and no impact fees. The county likewise provides a foreign trade zone, in addition to its picturesque and peaceful hometowns like Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid, that all combine to create form a perfect template bringing growth not only to businesses but also residential communities.