JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Governor Rick Scott has announced the 2012-13 Florida Defense Support Task Force Grants. The grants, totaling $2.6 million, have been awarded to ten projects that serve to protect military installations and grow jobs and opportunities across the state. The City of Jacksonville will receive two of those grants totaling $450,000.
The funding will allow Jacksonville officials to continue protecting local military installations by constructing an explosive ordinance disposal bunker at Jacksonville Air National Guard Base. It will also allow the city to establish a maritime research and development capability at Naval Station Mayport. Additionally, the Florida 8 (a) Alliance, based in Jacksonville will receive $100,000 to assist veteran-owned and defense industry small businesses across Florida.
Governor Scott said, "These investments are critical to supporting military jobs and further establishing Jacksonville as a major hub for aircraft basing. This $450,000 investment will support the creation of a bunker for disposing of explosives, support research and development efforts and veteran-owned businesses for the Jacksonville community. No doubt, these projects make Jacksonville even more important for our nation's military.
The grant is one the City of Jacksonville says it's excited to accept. Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said, "These grants represent a vote of confidence in the collaborative efforts between City Hall and the military and veterans community in Jacksonville. I'm pleased to work with Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Defense Support Task Force to enhance Jacksonville's role as one of America's great military and veteran cities. This is a remarkable opportunity not only to strengthen our part in national security, but promote jobs and economic development at both the local and state levels."
Area Representatives agree. Representative Charles McBurney said, "The impact our military installations and personnel have on our state is huge. Nearly 700,000 military staff members live in Florida and $60 billion is inserted into our economy thanks to the military. I applaud the Governor and task force for helping to keep them here."
The Florida Defense Support Task Force was created in 2011 with the mission to make recommendations to preserve and protect military installations, support the state's position in research and development related to military missions and contracting, and improve the state's military-friendly environment for service members, military families, military retirees and businesses that bring military and base-related jobs to the state.