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Governor Ron DeSantis Announces More Than $6.1 Million in Awards to Support Florida’s Military Communities

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced more than $6.1 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 the collaborative efforts of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI), these programs provide grants to military communities to support infrastructure projects, economic diversification efforts, and military community relations.

“I am proud to continue making investments that strengthen Florida’s military communities and support our military families,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “With these grant awards, we are upholding our commitments to military and veteran families and supporting the critical missions of our state’s military installations.”

“The Florida Defense Support Task Force thanks Governor DeSantis for his continuing steadfast leadership in support of our military communities, who together with the Florida Senate and the House of Representatives supported a 50 percent increase of our grant programs for next year enabling us, for the first time, to fund all our grant requestors at a 100 percent level,” said Brigadier General Chip Diehl, USAF, (Ret.), Chairman of the Florida Defense Support Task Force. “With new missions coming to Florida military bases across the state, this enables the communities supporting those bases to thrive and shows the federal government that Florida is a strong partner and welcoming host.”

The Defense Infrastructure Grant Program supports local infrastructure projects deemed to have an impact on the military value of installations within the state. Projects funded under this program include transportation, utilities, housing, security and projects that protect military installations from encroachment. Awards through the Defense Infrastructure Grant Program include:

  • City of Jacksonville ($500,000) – to implement encroachment protection and compatible land use for Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Station Mayport, and Outlying Field Whitehouse.
  • City of Key West ($500,000) – to replace an existing structure and construct a reinforced concrete Community Center Resilience Hub.
  • Clay County Development Authority ($500,000) – to construct and install approximately 2.5 miles of asphalt road surface at the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center and increase the road’s structural strength and load bearing capacity, supporting heavy equipment associated with mobilization and emergency response.
  • Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast ($500,000) – to evaluate and produce a study on the growing demand for natural gas infrastructure at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.
  • Polk County ($500,000) – to acquire parcels in the Sentinel Landscape, limiting the development of important wetlands and wildlife conservation corridors around Avon Park Air Force Range.
  • Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners ($500,000) – to facilitate a Joint Land Use Acquisition to protect Naval Air Station Whiting Field and its outlying fields from incompatible land use encroachment, enabling the base to continue its current operations and expand its military operations in the future.

The Defense Reinvestment Grant Program supports community-based activities that protect existing military installations. These grants are awarded to economic development organizations that represent a local government with a military installation that could be adversely affected by federal actions. Awards through the Defense Reinvestment Grant Program include:

  • Bay Defense Alliance ($70,800) – to aid in continued Hurricane Michael rebuilding efforts, assisting Tyndall Air Force Base and Naval Support Activity Panama City with community support and partnerships as the base implements new aircraft programs.
  • City of Jacksonville ($88,000) – to craft an analysis on Department of Defense budget priorities and their impact on Northeast Florida military bases and the state of Florida.
  • Clay County Economic Development Corporation ($122,000) – to conduct presentations that support the Clay County Economic Development 5-Year Strategic Plan to increase community focus on economic development.
  • The Miami-Dade Beacon Council ($125,000) – to create plans, presentations, and analyses to promote and plan for continued development and implementation of the future Miami-Dade Aerospace Technology Hub.
  • One Okaloosa Economic Development Council ($125,000) – to create plans, presentations, and analyses relating to tri-county military priorities, industry diversification and retention, produce entrepreneur start-up videos, the identification of specific skills and competency needs, as well as Tri-County Community Partnership Initiatives.
  • Orlando Economic Partnership ($125,000) – to create presentations for the continued support of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education initiatives to encourage and publicize industry teamwork, growth, expansion, and collaboration.
  • Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners ($125,000) – to maintain and improve relationships between military installations and the community, improve total county impact and direct defense spending, and assist with identifying grant opportunities.
  • Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast ($84,000) – to create a Wastewater Treatment Phase 2 Capture Plan, coordinate advocacy efforts, and execute an economic development council communications plan.

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. The Task Force may fund projects that can be leveraged to promote, preserve, or enhance military missions and installations in Florida. Awards through the Task Force Grant Program include:

  • 125th Fighter Wing – Florida National Guard ($500,000) – to improve the current road surface, making it suitable to support construction traffic and gain access to the new alternate entry gate in preparation of the base’s continued growth.
  • City of Jacksonville ($500,000) – to implement encroachment protection and compatible land use for Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Station Mayport, and Outlying Field Whitehouse.
  • Clay County Development Authority ($500,000) – to purchase fee and/or less than fee interest in property(ies) within the approved Army Compatible Use Buffer around Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, protecting the center from incompatible land development and encroachment and safeguarding current and future training operations.
  • Emerald Coast Regional Council ($182,600) – to build upon 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.
  • Orange County Research and Development Authority ($120,000) – to create a roadway widening design and engineering plan for Science Drive at the new main entrance to the Navy Complex at the Central Florida Research Park.
  • University of West Florida ($460,000) – to develop, field, and verify the prototype system and control network on the Avon Park Air Force Range to show proof of concept for the Beta Test of the Florida Advanced Training Range.

For more information on military community programs, visit www.FloridaJobs.org/Military-Community-Programs. For more information on Florida military and defense programs, visit www.eflorida.com/floridadefense.

 

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