Awards include more than $9.6 million to Suwannee County for infrastructure expansion which will create more than 260 jobs


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced more than $15 million in awards to five rural communities through the Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF) program to support community economic development projects that will strengthen public infrastructure and expand job opportunities for residents. Awards include more than $9.6 million to Suwannee County to support an industrial park.


“Today, I am proud to announce that five rural Florida communities will be receiving awards to foster resiliency and economic growth,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “These infrastructure investments will pave the way for new job opportunities and business growth for Floridians.”


Administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity, the RIF program facilitates the planning, preparing, and financing of infrastructure projects in rural communities. Funded projects encourage job creation, capital investment, and the strengthening and diversification of rural economies.


“Florida is fortunate to be led by Governor DeSantis, who understands the tremendous impact public infrastructure investments have on Florida’s rural communities,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Acting Secretary Meredith Ivey. “Thanks to the Governor, these investments will fuel economic development and offer Floridians a brighter future.”


The following communities will receive awards through the RIF program:

Suwannee County will be awarded $9,600,000 to construct a wastewater treatment plant and install collection lines to create 269 jobs. The Suwannee County award through the RIF program is in conjunction with the more than $1.9 million Governor DeSantis awarded last year to Suwannee County through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund for infrastructure expansion in August 2022, and more than $760,000 awarded to Suwannee County through RIF in December 2022 for infrastructure to support economic development opportunities.


Other projects awarded are:


  • Jackson County ($3,375,600) – to extend water and wastewater lines to a project site and construct two stormwater treatment ponds to support the site’s development and create up to 150 jobs and $27 million in capital investment.
  • City of Macclenny ($1,173,000) – to complete critical improvements and upgrades to the City of Macclenny’s deteriorating water treatment plant at Northeast Florida State Hospital to create 40 new jobs and $22 million in capital investments.
  • City of Fort Meade ($969,900) – to make stormwater improvements in the city’s historic downtown commercial corridor to reduce flooding and improve stormwater management to retain jobs and draw new businesses to the area.
  • City of Umatilla ($482,500) – to provide increased water and sewer service capacity to the Umatilla Industrial Park to create 10 new jobs and provide $12 million in capital investment.


To learn more about the RIF program, click here.


During the 2022–2023 Fiscal Year, Governor DeSantis has awarded more than $15 million to rural Florida communities through the Rural Infrastructure Fund program:

  • On October 27, 2022, Governor DeSantis awarded nearly $5 million for infrastructure in rural Northwest Florida communities.
  • On December 20, 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis announced more than $7.1 million in awards to support Florida’s rural communities through the RIF program.
  • On March 28, 2023, Governor DeSantis awarded more than $5.4 million to four small and rural Florida communities, including more than $3.3 million to the Town of Callahan through the RIF program.


Strategic investments in small and rural communities through programs like the Rural Infrastructure Fund and the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund provide regional benefits that are key to strengthening communities for generations to come.




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