County receives Defense Reinvestment and Infrastructure grants

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Bay County was awarded $271,980 through Florida’s Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment Grant Programs. The funding will support sustainability initiatives at Naval Support Activity Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base.

Governor Scott said, “These Florida Defense Programs serve to support and sustain our 20 military installations in the state. This $271,980 in grants will provide installations with the resources necessary to keep military families secure. I appreciate the work Florida’s service men and women do protecting our state and nation, and I’m grateful we are able to get communities the funding needed to keep their defense operations running.”

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.

Bay County was one of twelve counties to receive a Defense Reinvestment Grant, which is designed to support relationships between military installations and their community. This $96,980 grant 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. Bay County was awarded $175,000 for the purpose of improving access to Naval Support Activity Panama City.

President Don Gaetz said, “Our task is to ensure Northwest Florida’s bases and missions are protected and expanded. By these grants, we are making our community more military-friendly and helping our military installations to be even better neighbors.”

Representative Marti Coley said, “We are fortunate to have such a strong military presence in our region, and I am thankful that we have a Governor and Legislature who recognize Naval Support Activity Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base in Bay County as local economic drivers as well as national security assets. The Defense Infrastructure Grant award of $175,000 will relieve a base access issue for Panama City and the Defense Reinvestment Grant will support local efforts to support and sustain both installations.”

Representative Jimmy Patronis, chair of the Florida Defense Support Task Force said, “The two grants awarded help further develop the partnership between the county and our military assets. I applaud the leadership of Governor Scott and Bay County in making these grants and the projects possible.”

“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 Bay Defense Alliance applauds the Governor’s Office, Enterprise Florida and Legislature for their longstanding support of Florida’s defense communities. Defense Reinvestment Grants are highly leveraged with local funds and thousands of volunteer hours to help ensure communities like ours will be prepared as our valuable military installations compete in the next Base Realignment and Closure process,” explained Tom Neubauer, President, Bay Defense Alliance.

“Bay County is excited with the announced award of the Defense Infrastructure Grant for the Magnolia Beach Road Naval Gate Project. The project will increase safety and reduce travel delays for motorist by providing a left turn lane on Magnolia Beach Road. The County is always pleased when we can team with our military partners to assist in meeting one of their needs,” said Guy Tunnell, Chairman of the Bay County Board of County Commissioners.

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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