On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI) have awarded several grants totaling more than $30 million to improve infrastructure, community redevelopment and job creation in small and rural Florida communities.
Most of the funds–$29 million–was awarded through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, $1.2 million through the Community Planning Technical Assistance (CPTA) grant program, $280,000 through the Competitive Florida Partnership grant program and $198,500 through the Rural Expansion Toolkit initiative.
“Florida’s rural communities are vital to the wellbeing and prosperity of our state, and my administration is committed to helping them thrive,” said DeSantis. “The more than $30 million we are awarding today will help ensure that our small and rural communities have the infrastructure and funding they need to create jobs and strengthen their economic resiliency.”
“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, DEO continues to champion opportunities that help communities across the state,” said Dane Eagle, the secretary of the Department of Economic Opportunity. “We will work closely with these communities to meet their infrastructure needs and prepare them for the future in order to ensure strong economic development.”
“When we launched the Rural Expansion Toolkit in October 2020, we had one goal – to make sure rural Floridians have the practical tools they need to create economic opportunity,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce Jamal Sowell, the president and CEO of Enterprise Florida “Having roots in rural Florida, I am proud to support these communities as they grow and prosper.”
The Department of Economic Opportunity has awarded $29 million to 42 communities through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. The program, administered by DEO and funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides funding for housing and community development activities that primarily benefit persons of low- and moderate-income in small cities and rural communities.
The projects awarded through the Florida Small Cities CDBG program include:
- City of Alachua ($700,000) – to repave several streets in low-income areas of the city that have become extremely worn and are in critical need of repair.
- Town of Alford ($600,000) – to replace the outdated and undersized water main. The project will also replace fire hydrants, rehabilitate two potable water wells, and install an additional fuel tank that is connected to the emergency generator to prevent future outages.
- City of Apopka ($750,000) – to repair or replace a minimum of 11 low- and moderate-income, owner-occupied housing units. Temporary relocation assistance will be provided to residents.
- City of Bowling Green ($700,000) – to renovate the wastewater treatment plant, provide water flow and pressure to the city’s potable water distribution system, replace the sewer line, and rehabilitate the wastewater collection system’s maintenance holes.
- City of Bunnell ($700,000) – to replace an inadequate storm water drainage system and expand another to address runoff and drainage during significant rain events in two service areas.
- City of Callaway ($750,000) – to assist a minimum of 11 low- and moderate-income residents with necessary housing repairs to bring them into compliance with the adopted housing code. Temporary relocation assistance will be provided to residents as needed.
- City of Carrabelle ($650,000) – to revitalize Carrabelle’s downtown area to benefit existing merchants and draw new businesses into the area. This project will include repairs of the sidewalks, seawall, the boardwalk and lighting fixtures, as well as replacement of the potable water line to provide an adequate supply of water to the restrooms and fish cleaning station.
- City of Center Hill ($650,000) – to rehabilitate, demolish and replace substandard housing for a minimum of nine very low, low-, and moderate-income households. Temporary relocation assistance will be provided to approved homeowners.
- Town of Century ($700,000) – to upgrade a sewage treatment plant serving three low- and moderate-income service areas. All three areas will benefit from the installation of new pumps, electrical and plumbing, and a new monitoring system and infiltration controls.
- Columbia County ($750,000) – to rehabilitate or demolish and replace substandard or deteriorated housing for a minimum of 11 low- and moderate-income households. Temporary relocation assistance will be provided during the rehabilitation.
- City of Dade City ($700,000) – to improve parks and playgrounds in three low- and moderate-income service areas. Naomi Jones Park will receive shade covers for playground equipment. Community Park and Watson Park will both receive Americans with Disabilities Act accessible playground equipment.
- City of Fort Meade ($700,000) – to revitalize the city’s commercial district by installing crosswalks, pavers, planters, irrigation, street lighting and a fire hydrant. This will improve the economic environment for existing merchants and drawing new businesses.
- Town of Glen St. Mary ($600,000) – to provide a new chlorination system and a partition in-ground storage tank and extend the gravity sewer.
- City of Green Cove Springs ($700,000) – to replace 50-year-old stormwater pipe and the sidewalk, curb, asphalt, and landscape on West Street. Additionally, sidewalks will be added to Highland Avenue and Center Street, and Vera Francis Hall Park will receive new picnic tables and benches.
- Village of Indiantown ($700,000) – to repave and install stormwater drains along Southwest Seminole Drive and Southwest Osceola Street, and replace a sewer line at the Magnolia Street lift station to prevent ongoing sewer overflows.
- Town of Inglis ($650,000) – to replace roofs of three municipal buildings used by town residents, and to repair and overlay several existing asphalt roads throughout town.
- Town of Jay ($600,000) – to resurface multiple streets located in four low- and moderate-income service areas.
- Town of Jennings ($650,000) – to rehabilitate or demolish and replace a minimum of nine very low, low-, and moderate-income households to meet current building code standards. Temporary relocation assistance will be provided.
- City of Lake Butler ($700,000) – to replace the sanitary sewer lift stations in two low- and moderate-income service areas to prevent possible failure.
- City of Lake City ($750,000) – to revitalize the downtown commercial district by constructing a fountain in Lake Desoto, and to provide new fencing and landscaping with irrigation in Wilson Park.
- Town of Lake Placid ($700,000) – to replace a predominately asbestos cement water main to increase the safety and reliability of the potable water service.
- City of Lake Wales ($750,000) – to rehabilitate or demolish and replace at least 11 substandard low- and moderate-income, owner-occupied households. Temporary relocation assistance will be provided.
- Liberty County ($700,000) – to pave several unpaved roads and replace water meters in five low- and moderate-income service areas.
- City of Macclenny ($700,000) – to demolish or rehabilitate and reconstruct two lift stations and gravity sewers within two low- and moderate-income service areas.
- City of Madison ($700,000) – to replace sewer lines and water lines serving more than 50 low- and moderate-income households in the South Central area of the city.
- Madison County ($750,000) – to rehabilitate 11 low- and moderate-income, owner-occupied households in Madison County. This project will replace substandard housing and remove unhealthy or hazardous conditions.
- City of Mary Esther ($700,000) – to install a new water main with service connections and fire hydrants, refurbish sanitary sewer maintenance holes and resurface a roadway.
- City of Midway ($700,000) – to pave or repave six separate streets. These activities will serve a total of 301 people, of which most are very low, low-, and moderate-income individuals.
- City of New Port Richey ($750,000) – to repair or replace a minimum of 11 low- and moderate-income, homeowner-occupied housing units all of which will be located within the city limits. This project will replace substandard housing and remove unhealthy or hazardous conditions.
- City of Polk City ($650,000) – to repave several streets and construct new sidewalks.
- Town of Pomona Park ($600,000) – to construct sidewalks along Main Street; replace part of the existing roof at the community center; construct an open picnic shelter and renovate the existing bathroom structure at Beach Park; and create adult exercise stations, an exercise trail and stripe the parking lot at Mayor’s Park.
- Town of Ponce De Leon ($600,000) – to make improvements to the Main Street emergency pumping system and the water and wastewater treatment facilities.
- Santa Rosa County ($750,000) – to install a new 6-inch waterline in two residential neighborhoods, Barbarossa and New Hope in Midway, to improve water pressure and provide fire protection in low- and moderate-income service areas.
- St. Lucie County ($750,000) – to rehabilitate or demolish and replace 11 very low, low-, and moderate-income households to comply with the county’s adopted housing code. Temporary relocation assistance will be provided.
- City of Stuart ($750,000) – to rehabilitate or demolish and replace a minimum of 11 low-and moderate-income substandard households and remove unhealthy and hazardous conditions. Temporary relocation assistance will be provided.
- Taylor County ($750,000) – to rehabilitate or demolish and replace a minimum of 11 low- and moderate-income substandard households and remove unhealthy and hazardous conditions. Temporary relocation assistance will be provided.
- City of Valparaiso ($650,000) – to improve stormwater facilities and complete new street paving in two adjacent service areas.
- City of Vernon ($650,000) – to rehabilitate both city wells, improve the water treatment plant, and repave several streets in two low- and moderate-income service areas.
- Wakulla County ($750,000) – to rehabilitate or demolish and replace a minimum of 11 low- and moderate-income substandard households. Temporary relocation assistance will be provided if necessary.
- City of Webster ($600,000) – to replace water and sewer lines and repave several streets within the City of Webster.
- City of West Melbourne ($750,000) – to replace water lines located in the incorporated area of the city.
- Town of Worthington Springs ($600,000) – to make community improvements including paving a vacant lot next to the community center/emergency shelter, making asphalt roadway spot improvements, resurfacing streets, making drainage improvements and reconstructing streets.
DEO has awarded more than $1.2 million in Community Planning Technical Assistance (CPTA) grants to 27 Florida communities and two regional planning councils. The CPTA grant program seeks to build stronger communities through innovative planning and development strategies to promote economic diversity, protect environmentally sensitive areas and bolster resiliency planning.
The Florida communities receiving CPTA grant funding are:
- Bay County ($50,000) – to create a county housing study report.
- Central Florida Regional Planning Council ($50,000) – to develop a master plan for Hardee County’s parks and recreation, open space, trails, and to draft comprehensive plan amendments.
- Charlotte County ($50,000) – to evaluate the county’s comprehensive plan and the Community Planning Act requirements, specifically as they relate to flooding, the effects of sea level rise, and post-disaster redevelopment, and to create a program to educate and inform the public about the county’s Post-Disaster Redevelopment and Action Plan.
- City of DeFuniak Springs ($50,000) – to develop a Parks and Recreation Master Plan.
- City of Dunnellon ($37,500) – to implement priority action items identified in the city’s Historic District Enhancement Plan (HDEP).
- City of Everglades City ($42,500) – to complete an evaluation and update the city’s comprehensive plan.
- City of Florida City ($21,500) – to update the city’s zoning and future land use maps to promote economic development opportunities.
- City of Frostproof ($20,000) – to update the city’s economic development plan and to create Chamber of Commerce resources to help retain existing businesses and attract new businesses and visitors.
- City of Haines City ($39,500) – to prepare a Wastewater Treatment Plant evaluation and protection plan and to create a Technical Memorandum that evaluates the existing Wastewater Treatment Plant process.
- City of High Springs ($45,000) – to prepare a Downtown Parking and Stormwater Improvement Plan.
- City of New Port Richey ($25,000) – to support the development of a master plan for the former Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) site and the surrounding blocks.
- City of Oakland Park ($50,625) – to prepare the second phase of an affordable housing study.
- City of Palm Beach Gardens ($50,000) – to create a Resilience Action Plan for the Palm Beach North region in partnership with nine other municipalities, the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce, and other regional stakeholders.
- City of Panama City ($49,000) – to develop a Parks and Recreation Master Plan for the city’s historic Millville community to improve recreational opportunities and create an atmosphere for enhanced economic growth.
- City of Pensacola ($40,000) – to prepare a Master Transportation Plan.
- City of Pompano Beach ($45,000) – to develop a comprehensive portfolio of projects to help meet the goals of earlier sustainability planning efforts for the creation of a comprehensive Sustainability Project Portfolio and Implementation Plan.
- City of Tampa ($50,000) – to develop a Neighborhood Commercial District Plan for a neighborhood commercial corridor in the city.
- City of Temple Terrace ($50,000) – to create a Complete Streets and Safety Action Plan for three main corridors.
- City of Treasure Island ($50,000) – to prepare a Resiliency Measures Implementation Manual to encourage development within the city.
- City of Winter Haven ($40,000) – to update the Downtown Community Redevelopment Plan.
- Jackson County Board of County Commissioners ($47,700) – to develop a plan for flood plain management and mitigation in order to improve the county’s community rating system.
- Liberty County Board of County Commissioners ($15,000) – to develop a county-wide Communications Infrastructure Master Plan to assist the county with communications during emergencies.
- Marion County Board of County Commissioners ($48,000) – to implement a Housing Strategy and Solution project and develop a Guided Growth Plan for housing.
- North Bay Village ($50,000) – to support the development of a village-wide Stormwater Master Plan to address current and future stormwater infrastructure needs.
- Northeast Florida Regional Council ($22,500) – to draft Evaluation and Review amendments to current comprehensive plans for the City of Crescent City, Town of Interlachen and the Town of Welaka.
- Northeast Florida Regional Council ($20,000) – to complete a comprehensive update to the council’s Affordable Housing Needs Plan to identify regional gaps in affordable housing options that may improve the ability to provide affordable housing for all income, age and ability groups.
- Northeast Florida Regional Council ($20,000) – to assist with creating a community vision for the Town of Baldwin to develop a future land use map that will address the increasing need for development.
- Town of Jay ($40,000) – to update land development regulations based on Florida state statutes and Santa Rosa County restrictions.
- Town of Seawall’s Point ($50,000) – to complete the second phase of the Evaluation and Review amendment to the town’s comprehensive plan.
- Village of Indiantown ($50,000) – to develop the Indiantown Combined Mobility Plan and Mobility Fee Project to provide mobility choices.
- Village of Palm Springs ($47,500) – to prepare a plan to convert septic systems to a village-wide sewer system.
DEO also awarded $280,000 to eight small and rural communities through the Competitive Florida Partnership program. The Competitive Florida Partnership funds the development of an economic strategy through innovative planning. Each of the communities will receive $35,000 to fund the development of their strategic plans, which focus on economic growth, diversity, community design and disaster preparedness. Additionally, DEO will partner with the communities to help them utilize their unique assets, set realistic goals to advance their economic development visions and connect the community with available state and federal resources.
Florida communities receiving Competitive Florida Partnership grants are:
- Baker County
- City of Bristol (Liberty County)
- City of Fellsmere (Indian River County)
- City of Palatka (Putnam County)
- City of St. Marks (Wakulla County)
- City of Wilton Manors (Broward County)
- City Zephyrhills (Pasco County)
- Town of Century (Escambia County)
EFI has awarded $198,500 to nine rural counties and cities for site preparation projects through the Rural Expansion Toolkit initiative. To date, Enterprise Florida has distributed $546,900 in Site Preparation Grants through the toolkit to assist with economic engagement and capacity building efforts in rural communities.
Enterprise Florida is awarding the following communities funding through the Site Preparation Grant Award Program:
- Union County Board of County Commission ($25,000)
- Madison County Board of County Commissioners ($16,500)
- Walton County Economic Development Alliance, Inc. ($25,000)
- Taylor County Development Authority ($19,000)
- Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners ($19,000)
- Dixie County Board of County Commissioners ($25,000)
- Village of Indiantown ($25,000)
- Lafayette County Development Authority ($19,000)
- The City of Avon Park ($25,000)
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