“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, FloridaCommerce continually invests in projects that improve infrastructure and create opportunities for employers and families in rural communities,” said Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly. “By visiting Putnam, Bradford, Columbia, Baker and Suwannee counties I was able to see firsthand how the Governor’s and FloridaCommerce’s investments in infrastructure support economic growth in our rural communities and I am looking forward to seeing how the regions continue to grow for Florida’s future generations.”
In Putnam County, economic leaders toured the CertainTeed Gypsum manufacturing facility. Over the next two years, the CertainTeed Gypsum manufacturing facility is expanding with the support of a FloridaCommerce Capital Investment Tax Credit, bringing additional career opportunities locally to residents of Putnam County.
In Bradford County the FloridaCommerce team visited the Bradford County Douglas Warehouse economic development site and the Keystone Heights Airport with local economic development leadership and county officials.
In Columbia County, the FloridaCommerce team stopped at the North Florida Mega Industrial Park, which offers sites with flexibility for new and expanding businesses. At the industrial park, Secretary Kelly and local economic development leaders discussed future economic development projects and opportunities for the benefit of their residents today and for generations to come. Through past broadband infrastructure initiatives and rural infrastructure fund projects, Columbia County continues to invest in their site ready-infrastructure and local talent pipeline for the benefit of job seekers and job creators.
The FloridaCommerce team visited Enterprise East Industrial Park— a site-ready business park that is a prime example of the future of Florida’s Agricultural Systems in Baker County. In December, more than $3 million dollars was awarded to Baker County through the Rural Infrastructure Fund program to extend the paved road, water, wastewater, and natural gas infrastructure into Enterprise East Industrial Park— creating infrastructure to support 60 jobs.
In Suwannee County the FloridaCommerce team made a stop at Suwannee County Industrial Catalyst Site, a 500-acre industrial park that is the perfect growth opportunity for manufacturing and industrial-size businesses. In August 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded more than $1.9 million to Suwannee County through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to support business growth of the catalyst site.
What local economic leaders are saying:
“Here in Suwannee County, we are extremely pleased with the continued growth that we have seen over the last several years. With the support of the Department of Commerce we have been able to invest in both water and wastewater infrastructure which has directly resulted in Suwannee County landing several projects. Simply put, with the support from the State of Florida and the Department of Commerce, our dreams are becoming reality. The next project, Wave Armor, is scheduled to break ground in the first quarter of 2024. The future is bright here in Suwannee County.” Said Jimmy Norris, Suwannee County Economic Development Director.
“Columbia County thanks the leadership of Governor DeSantis and Secretary Kelly for their continued partnership and investment in Florida’s rural communities. Located at the crossroads of Interstates 75 and 10, Columbia County is strategically positioned to be the State’s epicenter of manufacturing and distribution. Having partners such as the Florida Department of Commerce ensures that Columbia County is well positioned to continue attracting high-quality jobs and economic growth.” Said Jennifer L. (Goff) Daniels, Columbia County Economic Development Director
“We are excited for Secretary Kelly’s visit to Putnam County to see the momentum and success stories we have in economic development. FloridaCommerce is a great partner with us on growing jobs and our local economy.” Said, Mark Litton, Putnam County Chamber.
“The number one priority for Bradford County is economic development and job growth. We have demonstrated our commitment to this by dedicating $4 million of ARPA funding to a joint project with the City of Starke to extend water and wastewater infrastructure to the area surrounding SR 16 and the US HWY 301 bypass. Once this infrastructure is in place, we envision development in that area to include mixed use, commercial, light industrial and other uses to spur economic development in our county. Our other area of focus is the Keystone Heights Airport. This is a hidden gem in Bradford County and an area ripe for business development. In conjunction with this, we have been working closely with Florida Commerce in partnership with the Northeast Florida Economic Development Corporation to acquire a state-owned warehouse that could house a leader in the aviation industry. We are excited about this opportunity and deeply appreciate the partnership with FloridaCommerce.” Said, Scott Kornegay, County Manager Bradford County.
The commitment of Governor DeSantis and Secretary Kelly to support economic development in rural counties, like Baker, is second to none. The funding for infrastructure that we have received through the Job Growth Grant Fund and the Rural Infrastructure Fund has been instrumental in our success. Construction will start in early 2024 on two projects that we have announced in the past 8 months. Combined, these projects will bring over $800 million in new capital investment and 800 new high wage jobs to Baker County. Said, Darryl Register, Executive Director Baker County Chamber of Commerce.
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