PORT ST. JOE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded more than $23.1 million in funding to Northwest Florida communities through the Rural Infrastructure Fund and Community Development Block Grant programs.
“The best defense is a good offense and the long-term resilience of the Florida Panhandle is dependent on continuing to provide resources to support the success of these communities,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Robust resources and infrastructure improvements created by each of the projects awarded today are invaluable to Northwest Florida communities that are still recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Michael and other challenges.”
“A huge thank you to Governor DeSantis for providing vital support to our Panhandle communities more than three years after Hurricane Michael’s devastation,” said Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “The funding provided today will go a long way in improving the infrastructure needed to support the families and businesses who are still working to recover from this historic storm. Hurricane Michael left a lasting mark on the Panhandle, but thanks to the Governor and DEO Secretary Eagle for not giving up and continuing to do everything they can to make sure these communities are made whole and come back better and stronger than before.”
“DEO is proud to support Governor DeSantis’ unending commitment to the Florida Panhandle,” said Secretary Dane Eagle. “Thanks to the state’s investment in projects like these, Florida communities have access to a diverse collection of resources that strengthen their economies, increase public safety, and mitigate future risks.”
“Disaster mitigation plays a vital role in developing stronger and more resilient communities,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie. “Today’s announcement is another example of Governor DeSantis’ commitment to ensuring that Florida’s Panhandle is equipped to withstand and recover from all disasters. The Division is proud to partner with DEO in supporting mitigation efforts that will lessen the impacts of future disasters.”
Administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the Rural Infrastructure Fund is used to facilitate the planning, preparation, and financing of infrastructure projects in rural communities. Funded projects encourage job creation, capital investment, and the strengthening and diversification of rural economies. 
The following communities will receive awards through the Rural Infrastructure Fund: 
  • The City of Bonifay ($254,075) – to conduct a study to address the drainage infrastructure along State Road 79.
  • The City of Cottondale ($1,000,000) – to conduct a comprehensive infrastructure improvement plan to improve the downtown area.
  • The Town of Campbellton ($281,500) – to conduct a study to extend wastewater and natural gas from Marianna to the town limits. 
  • The City of Port St. Joe ($675,426) – to install a new waterline in the downtown commercial district.
  • Holmes County ($154,000) – to conduct a comprehensive stormwater, drainage, and flood study along State Road 79. 
  • The City of Jacob ($144,500) – to conduct a study on broadband internet availability, accessibility, affordability, and transmission speeds in the city and surrounding areas.
  • Jackson County ($106,500) – to design and develop a plan for a campground at the Blue Springs Recreational Area. 
  • Jackson County ($994,712) – to design, permit, inspect, and construct public roadways and utilities into a commercial park south of Interstate 10.
  • The City of Marianna ($992,000) – to finalize roadway improvements and utility extensions on the Mashburn Road project leading to the Endeavor Industrial Site. 
  • The Town of Ponce de Leon ($196,500) – to conduct a study and create a plan to expand public wastewater infrastructure. 
  • The Town of Jay ($300,000) – to help with the renovation of the Bray-Hendricks Sports Complex.
  • Wakulla County ($220,044) – to extend natural gas service to the county’s business park.
The CDBG-CV Small Cities program, also administered by DEO, primarily benefits low- and moderate-income residents. Activities benefit workforce, housing, training, and sustainability, as well as broadband infrastructure and planning.
The following communities will receive awards through the Community Development Block Grant-CV Program: 
  • Town of Alford ($250,262) – to rehabilitate the Alford Community Center and erect an electronic public information sign to notify city residents of the ongoing process and future resources.
  • City of Cottondale ($1,426,659) – to rehabilitate and expand the City’s Community Center to accommodate increased demand for services.
  • Town of Century ($3,255,000) – to rehabilitate the Carver Community Center and Town of Century Community Center to better accommodate citizens and increase public health compliance.
  • Holmes County ($954,000) – to rehabilitate and expand an existing Senior Center in the City of Bonifay to meet demand for additional services.
  • City of Fort Walton Beach ($58,703) – to provide medical assistance and employment assistance for Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) residents and to improve local food banks.
  • Jackson County ($2,879,000) – to conduct improvements to patient rooms at the Jackson County Hospital.
  • Town of Jay ($1,072,500) – to rehabilitate the Jay Community Center to enhance safety and public health compliance.
  • City of Marianna ($3,996,209) – to rehabilitate Marianna Health and Rehabilitation Center to improve air purification and HVAC systems and construct a Bio-Hazard Isolation Room for the disposal of hazardous material.
  • City of Paxton ($1,129,640) – to construct a new Senior Center that will eliminate current city limitations on services provided.
  • Town of Ponce de Leon ($950,000) – to rehabilitate the Multipurpose Recreation Center to provide more suitable accommodations for public health screenings and allow the center to operate as a satellite medical clinic open to the public.
The Rebuild Florida Hazard Mitigation Grant Match Program funds the local community’s match portion of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) awards, administered by The Florida Division of Emergency Management, for eligible projects to support recovery efforts in communities impacted by Hurricane Michael.
The following communities will receive awards through the CDBG-DR Hazard Mitigation Grant Match Program: 
  • Bay County ($56,055) – to engineer improvements to the Cedar Grove wastewater drainage project.
  • City of Chipley ($44,070) – to install permanent generators at two lift stations to maintain operation during power outages.
  • City of Cottondale ($93,897) – to install permanent generators at five lift stations to maintain operation during power outages.
  • Jackson County ($68,333) – to install five permanent generators and two portable generators at multiple lift stations to provide backup power during future outages.
  • City of Marianna ($568,126) – to install hurricane-grade doors and windows at the Public Safety Building to enhance safety during future weather events.
  • City of Panama City ($91,031) – to harden two fire stations through the installation of hurricane-grade doors and windows. 
  • City of Panama City ($891,111) – to install two culverts to mitigate residential flood risks and engineer improvements to the Robinson Bayou drainage system that will rehabilitate 300 acres of wetlands to store stormwater.
For more information about the Rural Infrastructure Fund Grant Program, please visit FloridaJobs.org/RIF. For more information about the CDBG-CV Program, please visit FloridaJobs.org/CDBG-CV. For more information about the HMGP Match Program, please visit RebuildFlorida.gov.

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