County receives Defense Infrastructure grants

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Polk County was awarded $100,000 through Florida’s Defense Infrastructure Grant Program. The funding will be used to buffer Avon Park Air Force Range.

Governor Scott said, “These Florida Defense Programs serve to support and sustain our 20 military installations, like those in Polk County. I am proud that we continue to invest in these programs and can help guarantee the continued success of important facilities like the Avon Park Air Force Range. I thank the Florida service men and women who defend and protect our state and I’m grateful we are able to secure this 100,000 investment to get communities the funding they need.”

For more than 15 years the defense grants have been successful tools in assisting local defense partners to support 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.

Senator Denise Grimsley said, “The Avon Park Air Force Range benefits our community and supports our local economy. This $100,000 Defense Infrastructure Grant will make an important impact in acquiring land surrounding the facility and protecting its assets. Thank you to Governor Scott and my colleagues in the Legislature for awarding this needed funding.”

Senator Kelli Stargel said, “Thanks to this grant, Polk County can work closer with the Avon Park Air Force Range. Polk County relies on military installations for economic growth and this grant is another opportunity for jobs to be created. The military families of Polk County are more likely to succeed with the changes this grant will make to our community.”

Representative Seth McKeel said, “These grants help preserve the economic impact our military bases and families have on Florida. The military families of Polk County are more likely to succeed with the changes this grant will make to their community. With his dedication to the state, Governor Scott improves Florida communities on a daily basis and I applaud his action to approve this grant to Polk County.”

Representative Ben Albritton said, “When it comes to our military, we should all stand at attention, and certainly pay close attention to their needs. I consider it a huge blessing to have military installations in our Heartland region, so supporting them, and protecting the land surrounding them, is a no brainer! Thanks Gov. Scott for your service in the Navy and support of this great endeavor.”

Representative John Wood said, “The impact our military installations and personnel have on our state is huge. I sincerely thank Governor Scott and the Legislature for recognizing the value the military has in Polk County and across the state.”

Representative Mike La Rosa said, “Avon Park Air Force Range is of strategic national importance to our military. We appreciate the award of $100,000 through a Defense Infrastructure Grant that will be used to fund efforts to buffer the installation from encroachment.”

“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 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. Polk County was awarded $100,000 for the purpose of encroachment prevention and sustainability for the range.

“Meeting the challenge of providing for military training air space, while protecting natural resources, involves communication, planning and partnerships to achieve key aspects that threaten long term protection of both resources. I appreciate the opportunity to receive funding from the Defense Infrastructure Grant Program to maintain the value of this tremendous training flyway and the ecological resources in the Upper Kissimmee River/Northern Everglades area,” said Gaye Sharpe, Natural Areas Manager of Polk County Parks and Natural Resources.

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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