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DEO Announces $30 Million Available to Florida Rural Communities for Economic Development

Last week, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced $30 million in available funds for Florida rural communities through the Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF).

Rural communities can apply for this grant beginning July 15, 2022, to make infrastructure improvements and facilitate economic development activities that have positive, long-term impacts on local economies.

“Governor DeSantis secured a record increase in RIF funding – from $5 to $30 million – for the upcoming fiscal year, reaffirming his commitment to fostering generational growth and success within Florida’s rural communities,” said DEO Sec. Dane Eagle. “Rural communities are encouraged to apply for this historic funding to better position themselves for future economic development opportunities.”

RIF is a reimbursement grant program that facilitates the planning, preparing, and financing of infrastructure projects in rural communities, which encourage job creation, capital investment, and the strengthening and diversification of rural economies by promoting tourism, trade, and economic development.

$30 million is available for eligible communities listed under the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI):

$25 million through Federal State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) will be available to assist rural communities statewide. These funds can be used for planning and construction of improvements to public water, wastewater, stormwater and broadband infrastructure.

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$5 million will be available for inland Panhandle local governments in Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty and Washington Counties, as well as all municipalities within their boundaries. Eligible uses for those funds include improvements to public infrastructure for industrial or commercial sites, upgrades to or development of public tourism infrastructure, improvements to access and availability of broadband internet service, and enhancements to inadequate infrastructure that has resulted in regulatory action.

Awards will be made on a rolling basis as applications to the program are received. For more information about RIF and the application cycle, as it becomes available, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org/RIF.

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