Despite the rainy weather, Choose Tallahassee’s “Home Free: Why I want to Live in Tallahassee” contest winners Catherine and William Campbell were greeted with sunny smiles at the Tallahassee Regional Airport Thursday afternoon.
The retired couple’s arrival kicked off with applause, “Welcome to Tallahassee” signs and balloons. Choose Tallahassee members and city representatives, such as Rick Minor with the Mayors office, were the driving forces behind the grand arrival for the Campbell’s.
The Campbells have lived in 11 different states, most recently in New Hampshire. During this preliminary weekend visit to Tallahassee, the couple will get a taste of their new home. They plan to move to Tallahassee in August once their current home is sold.
“This was our plan, to retire in the South. And Tallahassee meets all those requirements that we’ve been looking for in a home,” Catherine Campbell said.
For Catherine Campbell, it’s the theater and arts programs in Tallahassee that are most exciting. Her husband is looking forward to another performance with lots of drama.
“Well, I love football. Go ‘Noles!” William Campbell said.
The Choose Tallahassee initiative has encouraged retired baby boomers, like the Campbells, to relocate to Tallahassee since 2010. The Home Free contest is one element of the effort to attract retirees to the area.
“We’ve got it all; great health care, low cost of living, excellent climate and lots of activities that baby boomers are interested in,” Minor said. “We’re excited about Bill and Cathy because they represent what baby boomer retirees are looking for. They are actively working with us to promote Tallahassee.”
Home Free was a nationwide contest that drew more than 275 entries. Each participant sent in a video stating why they would be a good asset to the community.
As the winners of the contest, the Campbell’s won a Tallahassee home 12 months rent-free along with other prizes such as tickets to football games and the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra.
“It was a way for us to give national attention to Tallahassee,” Choose Tallahassee Co-Chair Ken Boutwell said. “We hope they (the Campbell’s) get excited about Tallahassee and that they tell everybody in New Hampshire and all their relatives in other states and that they all start moving to Tallahassee to retire.”
During this exploratory visit the Campbells will begin to look at neighborhoods and potential houses.
“It’s quite obvious that they’ve put a lot of effort into this Choose Tallahassee program,” William Campbell said. “And it’s great to finally be here and to see them all.”