This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis showcased more than $3 million for military communities across the Sunshine State.
The funds come from Defense Infrastructure Grant Program, the Defense Reinvestment Grant Program and the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program through efforts from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI)
“I am proud to continue making investments in Florida’s military communities and upholding my administration’s commitment to keeping Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation,” said DeSantis. “In Florida, we value those who protect and serve our nation and the sacrifices that their families make. That is why we work to provide tangible support that enhances the lives and communities of service members for generations to come.”
“DEO is proud to support Governor DeSantis in his mission to serve those who serve our nation, and we look forward to the accomplishments these projects will help achieve,” said DEO Sec. Dane Eagle. “Military installations are vital not only to those who serve, but to all Floridians who benefit from the economic diversity and job creation they inspire.”
“The Florida Defense Support Task Force is dedicated to ensuring Florida’s military communities support the mission of our state’s installations,” said Col. Terrance McCaffrey, the vice president of military and defense programs at Enterprise Florida. “These grants ensure those missions are protected and also afford local and state governments the opportunity to partner with them to help them thrive.”
According to the governor’s office, the Defense Infrastructure Grant Program “supports local infrastructure projects deemed to have an impact on the military value of installations within the state” with funds going to programs that include “encroachment, transportation, and access to military installations, utilities, communications, housing, environment, and security.” DeSantis announced the following programs are getting $1.6 million from Defense Infrastructure Grant Program funds:
Clay County Development Authority ($500,000) – to modernize outdated and substandard marshaling and maintenance facilities at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center to ensure deploying equipment is fully mission capable and to enable the installation to perform deployment and redeployment operations.
City of Jacksonville ($500,000) – to jointly acquire restrictive use easements of properties in the Military Influence Zone at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners ($483,000) – to continue restrictive-use easement property purchases around Naval Air Station (NAS) Whiting Field to ensure operational sustainability.
City of Tampa ($117,000) – to complete road improvements that will reduce traffic congestion for vehicles entering MacDill Air Force Base and improve traffic flow, reduce commute times, improve delivery schedules, and reduce emissions.
The Defense Reinvestment Grant Program offers “support to community-based activities that protect existing military installations” and go to local governments “with a military installation that could be adversely affected by federal actions.” DeSantis announced $800,000 in Defense Reinvestment Grant Program going to the following:
Bay Defense Alliance ($125,000) – to continue Hurricane Michael rebuilding efforts and assist Tyndall Air Force Base and Naval Support Activity Panama City with community support and partnerships as the base implements new aircraft programs.
Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce ($125,000) – to partner with the West Florida Defense Alliance to develop relationships with local contractors and community organizations to streamline contract execution, whereby increasing the number of defense-related jobs in the region.
One Okaloosa Economic Development Council ($125,000) – to perform community-based activities to sustain existing military installations and diversify a defense-dependent community.
Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners ($120,000) – to assess 5G services and implementation, as well as to establish a resiliency scorecard for military-community initiatives that enhance and protect military missions.
Clay County Economic Development Corporation ($118,000) – to leverage funds in order to create major job centers for high-wage job creation to diversify the defense-dependent community and protect Camp Blanding as a vital community asset.
Orlando Economic Partnership ($107,800) – to support growth of the modeling and simulation industry in the Central Florida Region, which is made up of military, educational, and business leaders.
Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast ($79,200) – to increase outreach efforts by directly supporting the Hiring Our Heroes program, Vet Florida SkillBridge program, and Space Coast Salutes our Military website engagement.
The Florida Defense Support Task Force (Task Force) has “the mission to make recommendations to preserve and protect military installations, support the state’s position in research and development related to military missions and contracting, and improve the state’s military-friendly environment for service members, military families, veterans, and businesses that bring military and defense-related jobs to the state.” DeSantis announced $661,810 in Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program funds going to the following:
City of Jacksonville ($500,000) – to restrict incompatible land use in the Military Influence Zone through the purchase of restrictive use easements.
Emerald Coast Regional Council ($161,810) – to use partnership agreements among the military installations in the Emerald Coast region and their surrounding communities to allow military installations to partner with local and state governments and provide a wide variety of services.
These funds are in addition to the previous ones that DeSantis, DEO and EFI announced for Jacksonville, including $500,000 from DEO’s Defense Infrastructure Grant Program and another $500,000 from EFI’s Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program ($500,000) “to implement a long-term restricted land use initiative.”
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