TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Friday, 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.