The funding will support community projects at Florida military installations that will diversify the local economy, provide support for local infrastructure projects and strengthen Florida’s bases ahead of any potential Department of Defense realignment or closure actions. Florida’s military installations contribute more than $79.8 billion in economic impact, and the defense industry supports nearly 775,000 jobs in the state.
Governor Scott said, “As a Navy Veteran, I am proud to announce today that more than $2 million has been awarded for defense communities across 10 Florida counties. Florida prides itself on being the most military friendly state in the nation, and many of our families and communities depend on the economic investments that Florida’s 20 military installations provide. We will continue to do everything we can to recognize and support the brave military men and women who serve to protect our freedom.”
Defense Reinvestment Grants are provided to communities to help support the needs of a military installation or to help expand the community’s non-defense economy. The total grant award amount of $846,136 will help to protect Florida’s military installations, as well as promote economic diversification strategies in defense-dependent communities. The 2016-2017 Defense Reinvestment Grants were awarded to defense partners in the following counties: Bay, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Miami-Dade, Walton, Orange, Escambia, Brevard, Clay and Duval.
Five counties also received a 2016-2017 Florida Defense Infrastructure Grant: Bay, Clay, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Duval. Defense Infrastructure Grants are awarded to communities to make improvements to a military installation’s surrounding area in order to positively impact its military value and the local community. The Defense Infrastructure Grants total $1,375,000 and will help fund projects that include encroachment mitigation and transportation and access.
Cissy Proctor, Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity said, “Florida’s military personnel work tirelessly to protect our state and nation. Defense communities contribute greatly to Florida’s economy, and the 1.5 million former military service men and women in our state help strengthen our workforce with their highly valued skills. Florida prioritizes investments in our military and defense sector, and these grants play a vital role in supporting our military.”
Awards are as follows:
CLAY COUNTY: The Clay County Economic Development Corporation received an $89,000 Defense Reinvestment Grant to aggressively strengthen and diversify the non-defense economy while promoting the area’s military training operations at the Camp Blanding JTC and NAS Jacksonville. The Clay County Development Authority received a $300,000 Defense Infrastructure Grant for critical roadway restoration at Camp Blanding JTC.
In fiscal year 2016, the Defense Reinvestment Grant award to Clay EDC contributed $50,000 towards the completion of a 5-Year Strategic Plan for Clay County Economic Development. The fourth strategy of the 5-Year Strategic Plan is the implementation of “placemaking” to brand specific corridors and raise visibility of distinct amenities (i.e. manufacturing, medical, educational, innovation, and ecotourism). The fiscal year 2017 Defense Reinvestment Grant award to Clay County will contribute at least $65,000 towards the first step of this objective, which is the completion of a study to determine specific signage locations, types, and design.
DUVAL COUNTY: The City of Jacksonville received a $97,925 Defense Reinvestment Grant for a study to determine how to grow military presence at NAS Jacksonville and NS Mayport and a $300,000 Defense Infrastructure Grant for encroachment protection activities at NAS Jacksonville, NS Mayport and OLF Whitehouse.