GOVERNOR SCOTT ANNOUNCES $650,000 INVESTMENT FOR TAMPA BAY DEFENSE ALLIANCE AND POLK COUNTY

Communities receive 2014-15 Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Award

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance and Polk County will receive $650,000 in grants from the Florida Defense Support Task Force to protect the military communities.

Governor Scott said, “We must support our military installations in the Tampa area, and this $650,000 Defense Support Task Force grant will help both MacDill Air Force Base and the Avon Park Air Force Range. Florida continues to be the best place in the nation for military service members and their families to live and work, and with these grants we can make sure we are providing the support they need to keep our state and nation safe.”

The Florida Defense Support 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, military retirees and businesses that bring military and base-related jobs to the state.

Secretary of Commerce and president & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Gray Swoope said, “These grants are vital to our military and defense programs, and the local economies that rely on the operation of those facilities. Because of the grants, military communities around the state are able to improve working environments for Florida’s service men and women. Florida’s military and defense sector is one of the strongest in the country because of our commitment to preserve and protect our military installations. Enterprise Florida, through its work with the Florida Defense Task Force, is committed to supporting these critical assets.”

“The Florida Defense Support Task Force has again been able to provide local defense communities around the state the resources to keep vital missions at Florida’s military installations. These grants will help protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military installations that generate billions of dollars for our economy as well as stable, high-paying jobs for Floridians. I applaud Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for their support of the Task Force and commitment to keeping Florida as the most military-friendly state in the nation,” said Chairman and State Representative Jimmy Patronis from Panama City.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

The Tampa Bay Defense Alliance will receive $150,000 for the continued development of a strategic marketing campaign for MacDill Air Force Base (AFB). Additionally, the funding will develop and strengthen relationships between MacDill AFB and the local community.

Senator Tom Lee said, “The Governor and my colleagues in the Legislature recognize the strategic economic importance of MacDill Air Force Base in the state of Florida. I am grateful for the $150,000 that has been awarded to our community that will be used to support our installation and community.”

Senator Bill Galvano said, “I appreciate the $150,000 Florida Defense Support Task Force grant that was awarded to the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance to support our local military installation and host community. Our partnership with the State is critical in maintaining the $13.8 billion economic impact of the defense industry in the Tampa Bay region.”

Senator John Legg said, “Thanks to the Florida Defense Support Task Force, the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance will be able to continue strengthening the long-term viability of MacDill AFB. I am also thankful to the Governor and the Legislature for this $150,000 grant award.”

Representative Dana Young, Majority Whip said, “MacDill Air Force Base is one of the country’s best military installations and it is represents the best of Hillsborough County. We are thankful for this $150,000 award that will allow our community to continue to be proactive in supporting our military and their families.”

Representative Dan Raulerson said, “I am pleased that the State has awarded the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance this $150,000 funding award to support our community and our local military installation.
Representative Ross Spano said, “The value of the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grants cannot be overstated. I’m thankful to Governor Scott and the Legislature for including MacDill Air Force Base and providing us with this $150,000 funding.”

Representative Jake Raburn said, “The Tampa Bay Defense Alliance is fortunate to receive this Florida Defense Support Task Force grant designated to the continued support of MacDill Air Force Base. We are very appreciative of this $150,000 funding.”

“The Tampa Bay Defense Alliance along with the entire Tampa Bay community are proud of the steadfast work of the Governor, the State of Florida and the Florida Defense Support Task Force. Investments in strengthening our statewide military bases demonstrate an unwavering commitment to preserve our security and our freedom. The Tampa Bay Defense Alliance is honored and privileged to submit our grant to support and strengthen MacDill Air Force Base,” said John Schueler, President of the Tampa Bay Defense Alliance.

POLK COUNTY

Polk County will receive $500,000 through the Florida Defense Support Task Force for the acquisition of land or specific property rights to prevent incompatible development in the vicinity of Lake Walk-in-Water to protect the Avon Park Air Force Range. This grant protects the Avon Park Air Force Range from encroachment and protects the local economy and jobs.

Senator Denise Grimsley said, “With such a significant military presence in Polk County and all across our state, these grants are crucial to meeting the unique needs of our military members and communities. I am grateful to the Florida Defense Support Task Force for taking every opportunity to recognize and support our servicemen and women.”

Senator Kelli Stargel said, “I am honored to join Governor Scott and the Legislature in continuing our commitment to Florida’s military men and women and their communities. As a military mom, I understand that the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grants are just one way that we support the important role of the military in Florida.”

Representative Seth McKeel said, “We are excited to continue our partnership between area military installations and their host communities, and we are extremely grateful to Governor Scott and the Florida Defense Support Task Force for understanding and supporting the military presence in Florida. These grants underscore the commitment Florida has made to be the most military-friendly state in the country.”

Representative Ben Albritton said, “The $500,000 in funding will help to provide our local military members with the tools they need to protect families across the state. On behalf of all of Polk County, I thank the Florida Defense Support Task Force for their dedication to ensuring these important grants. A special thanks should also go to Gov. Scott for showing us another example of REAL leadership in support of our military.”

Representative John Wood said, “I want to thank Governor Scott and the Legislature for recognizing the importance of Florida’s military communities. This funding is vital to continuing our grant programs and supporting our soldiers.”

Representative Mike La Rosa said, “The Governor recognizes the strategic and economic importance of the Avon Park Air Force Range. I am grateful for the $500,000 that has been awarded to our county through the Florida Defense Grants program that will be used to support the military and our community.”

Representative Neil Combee said, “Polk County is fortunate to receive a Florida Defense Grant that is designated to sustain the Avon Park Air Force Range and have a positive impact on our community. The $500,000 will fund land acquisition to protect the range, increase awareness of the military industry, and sustain jobs.”

“This funding will be a tremendous opportunity for Polk County to continue to work with the Avon Park Air Force Range in partnerships with private landowners to enhance and protect military readiness and trainings, while providing conservation of important natural resources. Polk County will see economic benefits through the protection of over three miles of lake shoreline on Polk County’s Lake Walk-in-Water that attracts fisherman from across the nation,” said Gaye Sharpe, Natural Areas Manager, Polk County Parks and Natural Resources Division.

The 2014-2015 Florida Defense Support Task Force grants, totaling $2.59 million, have been awarded to 13 worthy projects that serve to protect military installations across the state.

The Florida Defense Support Task Force grants are awarded to local community organizations which support Florida military installations. These grants will be utilized to protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military missions and installations while maintaining Florida’s reputation as the most military friendly state in the nation. Additionally, these grants will strengthen Florida’s bases ahead of any potential Department of Defense realignment or closure actions, thereby protecting more than $73.4 billion in economic impact, and more than 758,100 jobs that the defense industry supports in the state.

This grant program is administered by Enterprise Florida, Inc. The grants are awarded annually, on a project priority basis, to organizations and communities working to protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military installations and missions, as well as improving the state’s military-friendly environment for service members, families and veterans. For more information on the Florida Defense Support Task Force, visit their website at: http://www.enterpriseflorida.com/fdstf/

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Enterprise Florida, Inc. (EFI) is a partnership between Florida’s businesses and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for the state of Florida. EFI facilitates job growth for Florida businesses through recruitment and retention, international trade and exporting, promotion of sporting events, and capital funding programs to assist small and minority businesses.

 

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