By February 22, 2017

Gov. Scott Announces 2016-2017 Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Awards ………

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that $765,000 has been awarded through the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program to three projects that serve to protect military installations across the state. This year, awards were given to the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, South Florida Progress Foundation of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and the Clay County Development Authority. Florida’s military installations contribute more than $79.8 billion in economic impact, and the defense industry supports more than 774,000 jobs in Florida.

Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce $765,000 in Florida Defense Support Task Force Grants to help protect, preserve and enhance Florida’s military installations. We are proud to be the most military-friendly state in the nation and this funding not only supports our military members but the thousands of families that have jobs across the state thanks to our military installations. We will continue to do all we can to recognize the many brave military men and women, and their families, whose service and sacrifice keeps our country safe.”

Grant funding will support community projects at Florida military installations that will diversify the local economy, provide support for local infrastructure projects and strengthen Florida’s bases ahead of any potential Department of Defense realignment or closure actions. For more information on the individual grant award for projects throughout the state, see below:

Escambia County: $250,000 in Defense Grants

$250,000 was awarded to the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce through the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program for fiscal year 2016-17 to reroute traffic to the Naval Aviation Museum from the main gate to a more direct access point in an effort to enhance protection and base security. Additionally, the project protects the positive economic impact the museum has on the base and the community.

Rear Admiral Don Quinn, USN (ret), Vice Chairman, Armed Service, Greater Pensacola Chamber said, “Pensacola is proud to host the world’s largest Naval Aviation Museum, the historic Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, and Ft. Barrancas, all located on board the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola and open to the public. Consolidating civilian visitors to the west gate for those venues allows NAS Pensacola to provide a more efficient flow of traffic while ensuring the security of operational areas of the installation. This grant from the Florida Defense Support Task Force will allow the Pensacola community to educate visitors of the changes to base access while reducing the demands on NAS Pensacola security personnel.

Miami-Dade County: $115,000 in Defense Grants

$115,000 was awarded to the South Florida Progress Foundation of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce through the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program for fiscal year 2016-17 to establish the South Florida Defense Alliance. The alliance’s mission will be to unite, champion and represent the local defense community.

Col. Steve Williamson, USA (Ret), Military Affairs Committee, Greater Miami Chamber said, “Our communities are better when we work together. We are honored at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to be a recipient of this generous grant that reinforces the importance of the military’s presence in our state. We know that the military in South Florida is one of our great treasures and this funding gives us the opportunity to create a South Florida Defense Alliance to strengthen and lead a united coalition to champion our local defense community.”

Clay County: $400,000 in Defense Grants

$400,000 was awarded to the Clay County Development Authority through the Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program for fiscal year 2016-17. The funding continues the Clay County Development Authority’s commitment to preserving and protecting the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center (CBJTC) from incompatible land development and encroachment. The funding, in addition to a federal match, will purchase land valued at over a million dollars.

Josh Cockrell of the Clay County Development Authority said, “In accordance with our principal purpose of promoting sound economic development of Clay County, the Clay County Development Authority is pleased to receive this grant that will strengthen the strategic partnership with Camp Blanding Joint Training Center to improve the quality of life for our citizens by securing a buffer from future development and encroachment thus protecting the installation that comprises almost one fifth of the county and is tied to its economic viability. We are pleased to work with Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Defense Support Task Force to support Camp Blanding as a premier regional training center. This is a remarkable opportunity not only to strengthen our part in national security, but promote jobs and economic development at both the local and state levels.”

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The Florida Defense Support Task Force was created in 2011 with the mission to make recommendations to preserve and protect military installations, support the state’s position in research and development related to military missions and contracting, and improve the state’s military-friendly environment for service members, military families, veterans and businesses that bring military and defense-related jobs to the state. The Florida Defense Support Task Force Grant Program is administered by Enterprise Florida, and grants are awarded annually, on a project priority basis. For more information on the Florida Defense Support Task Force, visit www.eflorida.com/floridadefense

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