Gov. DeSantis announces $3.2M grant to develop Crestview's Shoal River Ranch




  • In Business
  • 2022-05-18 17:24:12Z
  • By Northwest Florida Daily News

CRESTVIEW - The state of Florida has announced a grant of $3.2 million to Okaloosa County that will allow the county to prepare an approximately 750-acre site for business development.

Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the Hub City Wednesday to announce the award. It will be matched with $1.7 million from county coffers to provide nearly $5 million for expansion of roads, rail lines, water and sewer infrastructure and broadband connectivity at the Shoal River Ranch property.

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The funds were provided through the Governor's Job Growth Grant Fund.

"Today's grant will lay the foundation for a dramatic expansion of manufacturing in Okaloosa County," DeSantis said. "Florida is committed to expanding our industrial base, and investments like this, as well as our strong support for skilled trades and workforce education, will help us achieve this goal."

With the funding, the county will be able to extend infrastructure it has already run to the U.S. Highway 90 entrance of the 10,500-acre Shoal River Ranch site an additional 2,500 feet. That will tie it into a 500-acre parcel the county presently owns, said Nathan Sparks, director of One Okaloosa economic development council.

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The Shoal River Ranch is a property that extends both north and south of Interstate 10. The county owns approximately 750 acres within the site, all of it north of the freeway.

"There is nothing else this size with this much acreage with access to a major interstate in all of Florida," said Okaloosa County Commission Chairman Mel Ponder. The property is so large it has become known as Florida's Gigasite.

Ponder called the award "a difference maker."

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Gov.  

"Future tenants will have access to people trained and led by our education system, our college system, and our transitioning military who are technically trained," he said. "Opportunities at this site will create thousands of jobs in multiple sectors, another great win as we diversify our local economy. This opportunity will be transformational for our area."

DeSantis said the gigasite is expected to attract 11,000 jobs to the area and could conceivably double the number of manufacturing jobs in the area by bringing in an additional 4,000 jobs.

Development of the county's Shoal River Ranch parcel has the potential to pump $450 million into the region's economy, DeSantis said.

An additional amenity to be paid for with the state funding, according to Sparks, is a monument sign identifying the developable space as "The Shoal River Ranch Gigasite."

Ponder said One Okaloosa has provided site tours to nine potential development clients.

Sparks said the owners of the majority of the acreage at Shoal River Ranch, the Holland Ware Charitable Foundation, have informed the county they are willing to sell more land as expansion of the county industrial park is needed.

Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle also attended the Wednesday event, which was held at the Hub City Smokehouse in Crestview.

"DEO is proud to assist the governor in his mission to stimulate job and business growth in Florida," Eagle said. "This funding will support economic development in Okaloosa County by creating available, ready-to-access sites for industrial development, which will have lasting impacts throughout the region."

This article originally appeared on Northwest Florida Daily News: Okaloosa gets $3.2 million for economic development in Crestview

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