This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and Enterprise Florida have awarded $3.4 million to communities throughout Florida through the Defense Infrastructure Grant Program, the Defense Reinvestment Grant Program, and the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program.
These grants will bolster military facilities, support economic diversification efforts for defense-dependent communities, and fund programs to improve military-community relations.
“In Florida, we pride ourselves on being a very military- and veteran-friendly state, and we are pleased to offer these additional resources to assist our bases and military communities,” said DeSantis. “From Northwest Florida to Northeast Florida, from Tampa to the Keys, a lot of active-duty military members are working here in Florida. Having that strong active-duty presence is not only something that we are proud of from a patriotic perspective, but it is good for our communities. Strong bases have a positive impact in their surrounding areas, so in Florida, we work in concert with the military to make sure we have the appropriate infrastructure in place to capitalize on their footprint for the benefit of our communities.”
“Military installation communities support not only military personnel and their families, but also many other Floridians through job creation and new opportunities,” said Sec. Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). “It is imperative that Florida continues to support military installations and their surrounding communities throughout the state.”
“With the announcement of these grant awards, Governor DeSantis further solidifies his commitment to providing support for Florida’s military installations,” said Sec. of Commerce Jamal Sowell, the president and CEO of Enterprise Florida. “These vital investments will enhance the lives of those who serve and protect our freedom. I look forward to seeing the great accomplishments and breakthroughs that will result from this funding.”
The Defense Infrastructure Grant Program supports local infrastructure projects deemed to have an impact on the military value of installations within the state. Infrastructure projects to be funded under this program include those related to encroachment, transportation, access to military installations, utilities, communications, housing, environment, and security.
A total of $1.6 million in funding through the Defense Infrastructure Grant Program has been awarded to the following entities:
- $250,000 to the Bay County Board of County Commissioners to provide needed repairs to the Tyndall Air Force Base and Mexico Beach water supply which were impacted by Hurricane Michael.
- $450,000 to the City of Jacksonville to jointly acquire restrictive use easements of properties in the Military Influence Zone at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
- $300,000 to the Clay County Development Authority to provide maintenance for facilities at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center.
- $300,000 to Escambia County to continue easement purchases around Naval Air Station Pensacola to ensure operational sustainability.
- $300,000 to the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners to continue easement purchases around Pensacola Naval Air Station Whiting Field to provide critical buffer zones.
- The Defense Reinvestment Grant Program provides support to community-based activities that protect existing military installations. These grants are awarded to applicants that represent a local government with a military installation that could be adversely affected by federal actions.
A total of $800,000 in funding through the Defense Reinvestment Grant Program has been awarded to the following entities:
- $90,000 to the Bay Defense Alliance to continue Hurricane Michael rebuilding efforts and assist Tyndall Air Force Base with community support and partnerships as the base implements new aircraft programs.
- $90,000 to the City of Jacksonville to continue efforts to bring shipbuilding and maintenance plans to Naval Station Mayport and work towards the long-term goal of hosting a nuclear aircraft carrier in the Jacksonville region.
- $65,000 to the Clay County Economic Development Corporation to develop a Strategic Sites Inventory Program, which would catalog shovel ready sites as part of the development along the First Coast Expressway project in Clay County. Funding would also be used to create an interactive GIS mapping and analysis application for these sites.
- $85,000 to the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast to build upon existing programs that enhance community relationships and partnerships with the US Space Force, the 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Funding will also be used to promote the STARBASE Academy, a 45th Space Wing and Brevard County Public Schools program created by a grant from the Department of Defense to raise interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
- $90,000 to the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County to continue efforts and strategies to encourage economic diversification for the community surrounding Eglin Air Force Base by facilitating STEM cluster development opportunities for entrepreneurs, defense contractors, and non-defense STEM sectors.
- $90,000 to the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce to create higher-skilled jobs for those in the military community as they transition to non-defense jobs and continue to support the communities of Naval Air Station Pensacola and Naval Air Station Whiting Field.
- $75,000 to the Miami Dade Beacon Council to enhance economic development, identify opportunities for economic diversification, and build connectivity to grow the existing defense industry in Miami-Dade County.
- $85,000 to the Orlando Economic Partnership to support Naval Support Activity Orlando, a nontraditional military base which is home to 14 federal government organizations with activities representing each of the four military branches.
- $60,000 to the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners to promote further development of Whiting Aviation Park, a 267-acre parcel located adjacent to Naval Air Station Whiting Field.
- $70,000 to the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance to promote, protect, and develop initiatives in the Tampa Bay area to grow the defense simulation industry and create additional employment opportunities.
The Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program (FDSTF) supports community projects at Florida military installations that will diversify local economies, provide support for local infrastructure projects, and strengthen Florida’s bases ahead of any potential Department of Defense realignment or closure actions.
A total of $1 million in funding through the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program has been awarded to the following entities:
- $500,000 to the City of Jacksonville to support the ongoing effort to protect local bases and airfields from incompatible land use by negotiating Restrictive Use Easements with willing sellers of properties within the Military Influence Zone; utilize FDSTF funding to acquire $1,500,000 in Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) funding for acquisitions; acquire surveys, appraisals, and related documents to facilitate closings; and purchase Restrictive Use Easements from willing sellers of properties within the Military Influence Zone of Duval County naval bases and/or installations.
- $500,000 to Clay County to buffer Camp Blanding — which trains over 350,000 Florida National Guard troops, active-duty military members, and law enforcement units — from incompatible land development.
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