County receives Defense Infrastructure Grant

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Highlands County was awarded $110,000 through Florida’s Defense Infrastructure Grant Program. The funding will be used to buffer Avon Park Air Force Range.

Governor Scott said, “This $110,000 investment will continue to support military operations in Highlands County at the Avon Park Air Force Range. We thank Florida’s more than 750,000 military personnel for their service to our state and nation.”

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.

Senator Bill Galvano said, “The successful partnership between EFI, the military, and the local EDC is a paragon of effective cooperation that supports the Defense Industry of Florida and the economic benefits that follow. You cannot over-estimate the national strategic value of the Avon Park Air Force Range and I am grateful for Governor Scott awarding this grant to our county. This year’s grant in the amount of $110,000 will help with the Phase III project for encroachment prevention and sustainability of the Avon Park Air Force Range (APAFR).”

Senator Denise Grimsley said, “I am grateful to Governor Scott for his support. By funding The Defense Grants Program, Florida is giving back to the men and women of Highlands County who so faithfully serve our state and our nation.”

Representative Cary Pigman said, “This $110,000 Defense Infrastructure Grant will go a long way in helping to preserve the economic impact of the Avon Park Air Force Range and its personnel on Florida. I thank Governor Scott and our Legislature for recognizing the value of our military communities.”

“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.

“I would like to thank Governor Scott, the Legislature, and Enterprise Florida for their most generous award of $110,000.00 for the FY 14/15 Defense Infrastructure Grant funding for “Phase III- Encroachment Prevention and Sustainability project which will be use to preserve and allow Highlands County to continue to support our military operations at the Avon Park Bombing Range,” said Stephen Weeks, Executive Director of the Industrial Development Authority for Highlands County.

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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