Governor Ron DeSantis Announces More Than $3 Million in Awards to Support Florida’s Military Communities
TALLAHASSEE, FL (STL.News) Governor Ron DeSantis announced more than $3 million in awards to military communities through the Defense Infrastructure Grant Program, the Defense Reinvestment Grant Program, and the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program. Through collaborative efforts by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI), these programs provide grant funding to defense-dependent communities to support economic diversification efforts, local infrastructure projects, and military community relations.
“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 Governor Ron 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 Secretary 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 Colonel Terrance McCaffrey, 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.”
Previously, DEO and EFI collaborated to make awards to the City of Jacksonville through DEO’s Defense Infrastructure Grant Program ($500,000) and EFI’s Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program ($500,000) to implement a long-term restricted land use initiative. The agencies’ unique partnership forges valuable large-scale, high-impact investments in Florida’s military communities like this project.
The Defense Infrastructure Grant Program supports local infrastructure projects deemed to have an impact on the military value of installations within the state. Infrastructure projects to be funded under this program include those related to encroachment, transportation, and access to military installations, utilities, communications, housing, environment, and security.
A total of $1.6 million in funding is awarded through the Defense Infrastructure Grant Program to the following:
- Clay County Development Authority ($500,000) – to modernize outdated and substandard marshalling 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 provides support to community-based activities that protect existing military installations. These grants are awarded to applicants that represent a local government with a military installation that could be adversely affected by federal actions.
A total of $800,000 in funding is awarded through the Defense Reinvestment Grant Program 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 Skill Bridge program, and Space Coast Salutes our Military website engagement.
The Florida Defense Support Task Force (Task Force) was created in 2011 with 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. Within budget constraints, the Task Force may fund projects that can be leveraged to promote, preserve, or enhance military missions and installations in Florida.
A total of $661,810 in funding is awarded through the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program 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.
For more information on military community programs, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org/Military-Community-Programs. For more information on the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program, visit www.eflorida.com/floridadefense.