Recently, Governor Rick Scott announced
that local defense partners in Okaloosa, Walton and Bay Counties were awarded
over $450,000 through Florida’s Defense Reinvestment Grant. These three
counties were chosen among 12 regions to receive a Defense Reinvestment Grant.
“Governor Scott, Speaker
Weatherford and I are committed to making Florida's communities the most
military-friendly in America,” said Senate President Don Gaetz. “As the sponsor
of the enabling legislation, I'm keenly aware that the work of the Defense Support
Task Force is critical to preserving and protecting Florida's bases and
missions and I am grateful to the Task Force for making another significant
investment in Northwest Florida.”
In Okaloosa County, the
Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County (EDC) was awarded $100,000 for
the Team Eglin Research, Development, Acquisition, Test & Evaluation Center
of Excellence Collaborative Support Program. Okaloosa also received $200,000
for the Shoal River Military Installation Buffering Project.
Walton County received $60,000
which will be used to help develop a comprehensive countywide strategic plan to
better leverage regional military assets from Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt
Field and Tyndall Air Force Base.
To reserve and enhance the
missions of Naval Support Activity Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base, and
attract and retain industries that are complementary to the installations’
missions, Bay County was awarded $100,000.
This year’s Defense
Reinvestment Grant awarded $850,000 to 12 communities throughout the state. The
program is designed to support military community relations in Florida as well
as promote economic diversification strategies in defense dependent
communities. Each project requires a 30 percent match from the grantees.
Florida’s military and defense
industry is responsible for $73.4 billion, or 9.4 percent, of Florida’s gross
state product, which translates to jobs for more than 758,000 Floridians. In
Northwest Florida, the military and defense industry is credited with $18.87 billion
in economic impact and 192,243 jobs.