Over the last five months, two major projects in the Jacksonville region have been granted a combined $9.5 million from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Job Growth Grant Fund, which is designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state. The awarded funds will support infrastructure for shovel-readiness at megasites, Crawford Diamond Industrial Park and Cecil Commerce Center.
The $5.5 million grant awarded by Governor Ron DeSantis to the city of Jacksonville in November will go to the construction of a 3-mile rail spur to an area at the Cecil Commerce Center that is currently not rail served.
With the addition of the railway connector, the region will see an estimated 500 manufacturing and logistics jobs through the expansion and attraction of business. Soon to be accessible to the dual rail line north of Interstate 10, the access that will be offered by Cecil Commerce Center makes it one of the most desired locations for manufacturing, supply chain logistics and industrialized infrastructure throughout the Southeast.
At 17,000 acres, the Cecil Commerce Center is a hub for industrial and manufacturing businesses — along with the thousands of jobs companies bring with them. Companies including Baker Hughes, FedEx, Bridgestone, Wayfair, Northrop Grumman and Amazon have substantial operations on site.
This summer, Gov. DeSantis presented a $4 million grant to construct a clean water supply plant at Crawford Diamond Industrial Park, near the Town of Callahan in Nassau County. The grant was matched by the county for a total of $8 million.
The 1,800-acre megasite owned by Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is served by two Class I railroads – CSX and Norfolk Southern – and has been approved for 10.5 million square feet of heavy industrial land use.
The infrastructure project is also expected to “support approximately 500 jobs directly and 2,158 total jobs in high-wage, sustainable industries, including manufacturing,” according to Gov. DeSantis.
The awards only enhance Northeast Florida’s standing as a logistics and manufacturing leader. Both Cecil Commerce Center and Crawford Diamond Industrial Park enjoy convenience to multiple interstates, rail, air and deep-water ports JAXPORT and the Port of Fernandina, offering companies same-day access to more than 98 million customers.
“Florida’s business friendly policies, championed by Governor DeSantis, have been a reason for attracting business and talent to our state,” said Aundra Wallace, President of JAXUSA Partnership. “The appeal of doing business in Florida has been especially evident over the last few years, as companies are searching for lower cost of doing business, desirable infrastructure and an available and skilled workforce.”