County receives Defense Reinvestment and Infrastructure grants

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Escambia County and the Pensacola Chamber was awarded $266,000 through Florida’s Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment Grant Programs. The funding will diversify the local economy, enhance military missions at Naval Air Station Pensacola and protect the installation from encroachment.

Governor Scott said, “Our investment of more than $260,000 in Escambia County to protect the jobs and quality of life for Escambia families is essential to the area. We thank Florida’s service men and women for their dedication to protecting Florida families, and we will continue to support our military families.”

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.

Escambia 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 $66,000 to the Greater Pensacola Chamber 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. Escambia County was awarded $200,000 for the purpose of encroachment protection.

Senator Greg Evers said, “Home to the cradle of Naval Aviation, Escambia County appreciates receiving a State Defense Infrastructure Grant in the amount of $200,000 to protect Naval Air Station Pensacola from encroachment issues. Pensacola is also fortunate to receive $66,000 from a Defense Reinvestment Grant targeted at promoting economic growth, through jobs and investment, in the defense sector.”

Representative Clay Ingram said, “These grants demonstrate Florida’s continued support of our state’s military bases, personnel and their families. I am grateful to Governor Scott and the Legislature for recognizing the immense value of our military communities and the impact this funding will have on important local initiatives.”

Representative Mike Hill said, “It’s important that we highlight the Pensacola defense industry. The panhandle is filled with military installations and I appreciate the state’s funding to make these installations better for the men and women who serve our country. The military industry has a huge impact on Florida’s economy and Pensacola’s military communities deserve the grants provided to them today.”

“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.

“As a defense community, we truly appreciate the State of Florida’s commitment to supporting and enhancing our military, their leadership and support makes a huge difference for communities like ours,” explained Craig Dalton, Vice President of the Armed Services Department within the Greater Pensacola Chamber.

“Escambia County appreciates the continued financial support from Enterprise Florida’s Defense Infrastructure Grants which help protect the valuable military mission of NAS Pensacola. Working with the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce and NAS Pensacola, we are able to prioritize and purchase land adjacent to NAS Pensacola to reduce building density and buffer the base,” said Taylor Kirschenfeld, Escambia County Water Quality & Land Management Division.

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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