At the end of last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced more than $4.6 million is headed to Northwest Florida to help the region recover from Hurricane Michael which hit the area in October 2018.
The funds come from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF).
“In 2020, the Florida Legislature created a special appropriation for RIF projects in Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty and Washington Counties. These funds were appropriated to bolster infrastructure and promote economic development in these rural communities,” the governor’s office noted. “The Rural Infrastructure Fund is administered by DEO and provides funding to facilitate the planning, preparing, and financing of infrastructure projects in rural communities. Improving current infrastructure encourages job creation, capital investment, and the strengthening and diversification of rural economies through the promotion of tourism, trade, and economic development.”
“My administration remains committed to areas still recovering from past storms,” said DeSantis. “This $4.5 million will go a long way toward giving some of the rural areas affected by Hurricane Michael the extra boost they need to attract investment and improve their economies.”
“I extend my appreciation to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for their continued commitment to assist Northwest Florida communities impacted by Hurricane Michael through the special appropriation of Rural Infrastructure Funds,” said Dane Eagle, the executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “We look forward to working with these rural communities to help foster economic development and infrastructure projects in this region.”
The governor’s office offered the following information on how the funds will be allocated:
City of Bonifay ($242,250) – develop a concept and preliminary plan for a central stormwater facility that will mitigate repetitive flooding to existing businesses, allow for the attraction of new businesses, and continue the City of Bonifay’s downtown improvement efforts.
City of Chipley ($291,785) – identify a comprehensive solution to continued flooding in the downtown corridor and develop a stormwater management plan to support downtown revitalization goals to attract new businesses and create a vibrant, safe, and attractive downtown area.
City of Graceville ($95,000) – replace sewer infrastructure that transfers treated sewage from the existing wastewater treatment plant and allow the City of Graceville to remain in compliance with Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility (AWTF) permitting requirements and administrative orders.
City of Marianna ($757,460) – construct a 12-inch, 4,460 linear foot water main required for the city’s fire suppression system to meet federal, state, and local building and fire code requirements in order for an existing local business to expand and retain 98 jobs.
City of Marianna ($177,154.50) – obtain industrial park certifications for the Marianna Airport Commerce Park and Marianna Jackson County Distribution Park that verify site readiness and provide specific, in-depth site-related information to perspective companies.
City of Midway ($75,000) – assess infrastructure, streetscape, and landscape enhancements to ensure Midway is economically appealing for new businesses and to improve long-term viability of existing businesses.
Holmes County ($297,900) – create a plan for an industrial park to bring large manufacturing, distribution, and logistics companies to the county due to its convenient location to Interstate-10 to provide much-needed jobs.
Jackson County ($300,000) – obtain certifications for the Spanish Trail Commerce Park and Endeavor Commerce Park, which will provide development and documentation of site preparation, attract companies looking to build new facilities, and offer quality industrial-related employment opportunities.
Liberty County ($275,037) – finalize the civil site design for Sunshine Cypress, the first industrial park in Liberty County. The park will offer an attractive location with railroad access and support local efforts to provide economic diversification and recovery from timber industry losses.
Liberty County ($165,000) – conduct a broadband feasibility study to identify areas of insufficient broadband infrastructure, list potential service providers, and determine needed improvements and associated costs. This study will provide consistent broadband infrastructure and incentivize businesses and industry to locate to Liberty County.
Town of Havana ($75,000) – identify infrastructure, streetscape, and landscape enhancements to increase the potential for both small business job creation and private investment in the Town of Havana’s economic corridor.
Town of Malone ($256,500) – conduct a study to identify a comprehensive solution to stormwater management to alleviate repetitive flooding and allow for existing businesses to reopen, as well as attract new business to the downtown area in the Town of Malone.
Town of Sneads ($162,150) – conduct a pedestrian connectivity study to address the need for a significant portion of the Town of Snead’s population to have pedestrian access in order to support local businesses, potential redevelopment areas, and service providers.
Washington County ($1,500,000) – serve as a 50-percent match for the installation of broadband internet service providing necessary access to support existing businesses, while simultaneously attracting new business and industry to Washington County.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.