Gov. DeSantis announces over $30 million in grants for rural, small Florida communities

Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Monday that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI) have awarded several grants totaling more than $30 million to improve infrastructure, community redevelopment, and job creation in small and rural Florida communities. 

"Florida’s rural communities are vital to the wellbeing and prosperity of our state, and my administration is committed to helping them thrive," said Governor DeSantis. "The more than $30 million we are awarding today will help ensure that our small and rural communities have the infrastructure and funding they need to create jobs and strengthen their economic resiliency."

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"Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, DEO continues to champion opportunities that help communities across the state," said Dane Eagle, Secretary of the Department of Economic Opportunity. "We will work closely with these communities to meet their infrastructure needs and prepare them for the future in order to ensure strong economic development."

"When we launched the Rural Expansion Toolkit in October 2020, we had one goal – to make sure rural Floridians have the practical tools they need to create economic opportunity," said Florida Secretary of Commerce Jamal Sowell, President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. "Having roots in rural Florida, I am proud to support these communities as they grow and prosper." 

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The Governor's Office said that the DEO has awarded $29 million already to 42 communities through the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. 

This includes but is not limited to:

  • $700,000 for the City of Alachua to repair streets in low-income areas of the city.
  • $750,000 for the City of Apopka to repair or replace 11 low- and moderate-income, owner-occupied housing units.
  • $700,000 for the City of Bunnell to replace an inadequate stormwater drainage system and to expand another to address runoff and drainage during significant rain events.
  • $750,000 for the City of Lake Wales to rehabilitate or demolish and replace at least 11 substandard low- and moderate-income, owner-occupied households.

They also said that more than $1.2 million has been awarded in grants to 27 Florida communities and two regional planning councils. The funds should be used to build stronger communities through planning and development strategies.

Some of the communities receiving Community Planning Technical Assistance (CPTA) grants are:

  • $50,000 for the Central Florida Regional Planning Council to develop a plan for Hardee County’s parks and recreation.
  • $37,500 for the City of Dunnellon to complete action items in the city’s Historic District Enhancement Plan.
  • $20,000 for the City of Frostproof to update the city’s economic development plan and help retain existing businesses and attract new businesses and visitors.
  • $39,500 for the City of Haines City to prepare a Wastewater Treatment Plant evaluation and protection plan.
  • $40,000 for the City of Winter Haven to update the Downtown Community Redevelopment Plan.
  • $48,000 for the Marion County Board of County Commissioners to implement a Housing Strategy and Solution project.

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This story was written in Orlando, Florida.