Thursday, October 16, 2014

Region shares in defense grants

Five counties in Northwest Florida will get a combined $1.15 million through Florida’s Defense Infrastructure and Reinvestment Grant Program. They are among 14 counties awarded $2.45 million in the 2014-2015 Defense Grant program. The money will support community projects at 19 Florida military installations, according to state officials. In Northwest Florida, Bay, Escambia, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties each were awarded two grants, and Walton was awarded one. Okaloosa County is getting $300,000, including $100,000 for Team Eglin Research, Development, Acquisition, Test and Evaluation Center of Excellence Collaborative Support Program and $200,000 for the Shoal River Military Installation Buffering Project. Bay County is getting $272,000 to support initiatives at Naval Support Activity Panama City and Tyndall Air Force Base. Escambia County is getting $266,000, including $66,000 to promote economic growth in the defense sector and $200,000 for encroachment protection for Pensacola Naval Air Station. Santa Rosa County is getting $250,000, including $50,000 for the economic development of Whiting Field Naval Air Station and $200,000 for encroachment protection. Walton County is getting $60,000 to develop a countywide strategic plan on how to make better use of Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field and Tyndall Air Force Base. Other counties receiving grants are Polk, Brevard, Duval, Clay, Pinellas, Orange, Miami-Dade, Hillsborough and Highland. The state's military and defense sectors is responsible for 9.4 percent of the state's economy. The Florida Defense Grants Programs, administered by Enterprise Florida, are awarded annually through a competitive process to communities hosting military installations. (Sources: Florida Governor’s Office, Enterprise Florida, Pensacola News JournalPanama City News Herald, 10/15/14)