The pandemic has clarified the need to focus on improving the lives of people who reside in rural areas. Lack of internet and health care access as well as too few employment opportunities indicate that there’s plenty of room for improvement. These issues prompt stories to increase funding in an attempt to even the playing field. That’s where grant awards to close gaps come into play. We’ve covered stories recently on Iowa awarding grants to improve broadband access to remote areas. We’ve talked about a $535,000 seed grant award in Maine to help train workers for remote careers. And we’ve seen Michigan award grants to help fill the gap of healthcare shortages in rural areas of the state. This is all helpful to improve the lives of those living in rural communities.
Helping to bridge these gaps in healthcare, education, broadband access and infrastructure does seem to be an increased focus. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Enterprise Florida Inc have awarded multiple grants worth $30 million focused on this purpose.
How Helping Rural Communities Benefit The State as a Whole
So what purpose of The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) and Enterprise Florida? According to the former’s website, according to its vision and mission, the FDEO is focused on advancing Florida’s economy championing the state’s economic development vision and by administering state and federal programs and initiatives to help visitors, citizens, businesses, and communities.Enterprise Florida claims that it works to expand and diversify the state’s economy through private-sector job creation.
Both of these agencies are focused on improving Florida’s economy, especially in the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has already helped diversify Florida’s economy, a state that long depended on tourism.
What Will These Grants Go Toward Specfically?
The $30 million in grant funding will go toward improving infrastructure, community redevelopment and job creation. Let’s share some of the specific projects included within this grant allocation:
From the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant:
City of Bowling Green ($700,000) – To renovate the wastewater treatment plant, provide water flow and pressure to the city’s potable water distribution system, replace the sewer line and rehabilitate the wastewater collection system’s maintenance holes.
Town of Century ($700,000) – To upgrade a sewage treatment plant serving three low- and moderate-income service areas. All three areas will benefit from the installation of new pumps, electrical and plumbing, and a new monitoring system and infiltration controls.
Village of Indiantown ($700,000) – To repave and install stormwater drains along Southwest Seminole Drive and Southwest Osceola Street, and replace a sewer line at the Magnolia Street lift station to prevent ongoing sewer overflows.
Madison County ($750,000) – To rehabilitate 11 low- and moderate-income, owner-occupied households in the county. This project will replace substandard housing and remove unhealthy or hazardous conditions.
Town of Worthington Springs ($600,000) – To make community improvements including paving a vacant lot next to the community center/emergency shelter, making asphalt roadway spot improvements, resurfacing streets, making drainage improvements, and reconstructing streets.
From The Community Planning Technical Assistance Grant Program:
Central Florida Regional Planning Council ($50,000) – To develop a master plan for Hardee County’s parks and recreation, open space, trails, and to draft comprehensive plan amendments.
City of Palm Beach Gardens ($50,000) – To create a Resilience Action Plan for the Palm Beach North region in partnership with nine other municipalities, the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce, and other regional stakeholders.
North Bay Village ($50,000) – To support the development of a village-wide Stormwater Master Plan to address current and future stormwater infrastructure needs.
Village of Indiantown ($50,000) – To develop the Indiantown Combined Mobility Plan and Mobility Fee Project to provide mobility choices.
City of Temple Terrace ($50,000) – To create a Complete Streets and Safety Action Plan for three main corridors.
A full list of all of the recipients of these grants is linked here. Hopefully, this will help rural and small communities to make much-needed improvements.
We do have an entire grant category for quality of life grants. These grants can help with initiatives and programs aimed at creating a better quality of life for residents.
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