GOVERNOR SCOTT ANNOUNCES $310,000 INVESTMENT FOR OKALOOSA COUNTY

County receives Defense Reinvestment and Infrastructure grants

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Okaloosa County was awarded $310,000 through Florida’s Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment Grant Programs. The funding will allow Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field, and Duke Field to continue successfully carrying out their missions.

Governor Scott said, “We must continue to support our military installations like Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field and Duke Field so that the service men and women stationed in Northwest Florida are prepared to protect and defend Florida families. This more than $300,000 in Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment grants will help to grow the economy in Okaloosa County and the surrounding areas.”

For more than 15 years the defense grants have been successful tools in assisting local defense partners in supporting the State’s military installations. Florida’s military and defense sector is responsible for 9.4 percent – or $73.4 billion – of the Sunshine State’s economy. This translates to 758,112 statewide direct and indirect jobs.

Okaloosa County was one of twelve counties to receive a Defense Reinvestment Grant, which is designed to support relationships between military installations and their community. The $110,000 to the Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County will help to protect Florida’s military installations, as well as promote economic diversification strategies in defense dependent communities.

The Defense Infrastructure Grant is awarded to local projects deemed to have a positive impact on the military value of the installation in addition to benefitting the community. Okaloosa County was awarded $200,000 for the purpose of encroachment protection.

Senate President Don Gaetz said, “Our task is to ensure Northwest Florida’s bases and missions are protected and expanded. By these grants, we are making our community more military-friendly and helping our military installations to be even better neighbors.”

Senator Greg Evers said, “This grant will strongly support the bases in Northwest Florida. They are vital to America’s national security, and we’re committed to supporting the families and communities who serve our country. We want to protect jobs and opportunities for Florida families. The investment of $310,000 from Florida Defense Reinvestment Grant funding will help Team Eglin and the Military Veteran Collaborative Community Support Program, as well as the Shoal River Military Installation Buffering Project.”

Representative Doug Broxson said, “Northwest Florida is home to a number of critical military installations for our nation. The two grants awarded to Okaloosa County will strengthen the local economy while also providing stronger collaboration opportunities between the county and the bases.”

Representative Matt Gaetz said, “Okaloosa County is proud to be the home of the largest military base in the world, Eglin Air Force Base, as well as Hurlburt Field. I appreciate the State’s continued support for our military and defense industry’s $7.5 billion economic impact in our County, through the award of Defense Reinvestment and Defense Infrastructure Grants totaling $310,000.”

“The Florida Defense Grants Programs are vital for our military and defense industry, and strengthen Florida’s workforce through the highly skilled former military personnel who enter the employment market each year. I am proud to play a part in supporting our military installations and communities, and appreciate what our service men and women do to protect our state,” said Gray Swoope, Florida Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida.

A combined $2,450,000 was awarded to 14 communities in the state, helping to protect and improve 19 installations, and furthering Florida’s reputation as the most military friendly state in the nation.

“The Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County is delighted to be a recipient of a 2014-2015 Defense Reinvestment Grant Award. The EDC has a solid track record of maximizing the impact of these funds through proven programs designed to support and sustain our area’s valued military assets while also leveraging resources for critical economic diversification initiatives. We’re extremely grateful to Governor Rick Scott, Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope and the entire Enterprise Florida team for the continued confidence they have placed in us.”

“This Defense Infrastructure Grant (DIG), is a result of years of future planning, and building relationships with the Okaloosa County Economic Development Council and our military community. Okaloosa County has been proactive concerning future water supply, and we feel very fortunate to receive this grant, which will go a long way in protecting our water, our military missions and our county,” Jeff Littrell, Director,

Okaloosa County Water & Sewer System.

“Okaloosa County is grateful for Enterprise Florida’s continuing support of our efforts to help maintain and enhance the military missions in Northwest Florida. The acquisition of properties in the Shoal River basin will help buffer Duke Field from encroachment while simultaneously preserving sensitive habitats and helping protect water quality in the Shoal River,” says Elliot L. Kampert, Director, Okaloosa County Growth Management Department.

The 2014-15 Defense Grants were awarded to defense partners in the following counties: Polk, Brevard (2), Duval (2), Santa Rosa (2), Okaloosa (2), Clay (2), Pinellas, Escambia (2), Orange (2), Bay (2), Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Walton and Highlands.

The Florida Defense Grants Programs are administered by Enterprise Florida, Inc. The grants are awarded annually through a competitive process to communities hosting military installations.

 

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