Gov. Rick Scott announced that local defense partners in Polk County were awarded $200,000 through Florida’s Defense Infrastructure Grant.
Polk County was one of eight counties to receive a Defense Infrastructure Grant, which allotted $1.6 million to eight local governments for the purpose of benefiting the community and the military installation.
The $200,000 Polk County will receive will be used for encroachment prevention and sustainability.
“Florida’s service men and women, veterans and military families sacrifice every day to protect our great state. I am proud that we continue to invest in these programs and can help guarantee the continued success of important facilities like the Avon Park Air Force Range. In Polk County, the military and defense industry supports more than 9,000 jobs, and this $200,000 investment will help keep those jobs secure,” Scott said.
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 Polk County, the military and defense industry is credited with $765.9 million in economic impact and 9,871 jobs. The grant has been used for more than 15 years as a key tool in maintaining Florida’s reputation as the most military-friendly state in the nation.
“Having two daughters in the military, I understand the need for supporting our military personnel and the military installations. Protecting the lands around the Avon Park Air Force Range is of great importance. Grants like this are vital to keeping those assets here in Florida,” Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said,
Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland, said, “These grants help preserve the economic impact our military bases and families have on Florida. The military families of Polk County are more likely to succeed with the changes this grant will make to their community.
Rep. Neil Combee, R-Auburndale, said, “It will add value to our military and defense sector and positively affect more families in the area.”
The Florida Defense Grants Programs are administered by Enterprise Florida, Inc. The grants are awarded annually, on a project prioritized basis, to communities hosting military installations.