Local EDA's Will Recieve Millions From BP

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Panama City - Eight panhandle coastal counties are getting another $30 million from BP because of last year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The money is earmarked strictly for economic development.

Local governments and businesses in Bay, Walton, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Franklin, Gulf, Escambia, and Wakulla counties can apply for grants from this program. The University of West Florida’s office of Economic Development and Engagement is handling the grant applications.

Applicants can contact their county economic development alliances to apply for $10 million that will be available in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Bay County Economic Development Alliance officials want to use the money as incentives to target new industries.

"We often come in 2nd or 3rd just because of the packages we put together and have available in our state and local communities and this will allow us to be one step ahead," said Janet Watermeir, EDA Executive Director.

Watermeir plans to submit three projects for the funds. One of those is a corporate training facility in Bay County.

"For us to build the custom training center will be very difficult, but maybe these funds can be used with leverage of other grant funds to enable us to have a state of the art training center," said Watermeir.

For more information you can log onto the UWF website at http://uwf.edu/oede/initiative.cfm

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