Panama City, Fla. - Two Bay County programs are getting a boost thanks to a state grant program.
Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that $1.4 million in state grants will be awarded to several projects.
The Bay County Board of County Commissioners will get $95,000 to develop an expeditionary rapid innovation center outside Naval Station Activity Panama City. The center "will collaborate with local colleges, universities, and business in a public-private partnership," officials wrote in a news release. "This partnership will address the Navy’s critical need for a quick response innovative solution to address emerging mission requirements."
This grant will be used to leverage a $770,000 match from the Naval Surface Warfare Center- Panama City Division.
“The enemy, our competitor, is catching up with us because they are not constrained by many of the same things that impede our ability to rapidly deliver warfighting capability," said Ed Stewart, Technical Director of the NSWC-PCD. "We need to go fast and this type of organization will allow us to move fast and expand the advantage for our warfighters.”
Also, $144,000 was awarded to Gulf Coast State College to complete the required environmental impact study and scoping sessions to ensure Tyndall Air Force Base is a compatible location to house the MQ-9 Reaper Air Wing.
The MQ-9 is the Air Force’s newest unmanned aerial vehicle. If selected to host the MQ-9 Air Wing, it will bring 24 aircraft and about 1,600 additional jobs to Bay County.