Florida awards $42M for rural infrastructure

Fire hydrants are among the items being funded through grants from the Florida Department of Economic Development. (Shutterstock)

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced $42 million in state grant awards on Tuesday and Wednesday through two separate programs administered by the Florida Department of Economic Development (DEO)—the Rural Infrastructure Fund and the Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant. 

The community development block grant distributed $35 million to 48 communities, including many in North Central Florida. According to the press release, the program supports economic development, commercial and neighborhood revitalization, housing rehabilitation, and infrastructure improvements.    

“Making investments in our small communities helps build opportunities for generations to come,” DeSantis said in the release.  

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The funding for the grant comes through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Florida’s DEO distributes to communities.  

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

The Rural Infrastructure Fund will also send $7.1 million to nine communities to help facilitate planning, preparing and implementing infrastructure projects.  

“These strategic investments in our rural communities are important to families and businesses in rural Florida,” DeSantis in a press release. “Our rural communities are the backbone of our state and strengthening their infrastructure strengthens Florida as a whole.” 

In North Central Florida, the following governments received portions of the funds.  

  • City of Hawthorne ($650,000) – to replace aging components of the city’s master lift station. 
  • City of Waldo ($600,000) – to make upgrades to the city’s potable water system, including a new well and pump. 
  • City of Trenton ($650,000) – to replace aging components of the city’s existing wastewater treatment plant. 
  • City of Chiefland ($700,000) – to more than 3,600 linear feet of water mains, fire hydrants, valves, and fittings and to improve the sanitary sewer lift stations.   
  • Town of Branford ($600,000) – to replace 336 residential water meters with Automatic Meter Read Meters and install 27 new insertion valves throughout the City.  
  • Town of Bronson ($650,000) – to replace water meters in the city with Automatic Meter Read Meters. 
  • City of Starke ($700,000) – to replace deteriorated water mains and install new fire hydrants throughout the city. 
  • Dixie County ($750,000) – to pave approximately 1,325 linear feet of streets from NE 95th Street south to the county. 
  • Town of Fort White ($600,000) – to rehabilitate or replace homes of nine low- to moderate-income households. 

The city of Palatka received funds from both sources. From the Rural Infrastructure Fund, Palatka will get $555,518 to replace aging and failed water lines in an economic corridor, retaining around 15 jobs. From the community development grant, the city will get $750,000 to replace 2,100 linear feet of water main.  

Suwannee County also got dual awards. It will get $750,000 to rehabilitate or replace 11 low- to moderate-income households. Another $764,601 will extend the sewer infrastructure to support a new hotel and businesses near I-10.  

The town of White Springs will also get funds from both–$600,000 for low- to moderate-income households and $300,000 for community-wide water system improvements.  

The following governments will also receive funds through one of the funds.  

  • City of Apalachicola ($300,000) — to conduct planning and design for improvements to the City’s stormwater conveyance system. 
  • City of Belle Glade ($291,732) — to conduct planning and design for stormwater improvements throughout the City’s downtown area. 
  • City of Gretna ($3,501,840) — to extend water, sewer, and roadway infrastructure for a new manufacturing business in an underdeveloped commercial site. 
  • Hardee County ($235,000) — to conduct planning and design for significant sewer improvements within Pioneer Park. 
  • City of Lawtey ($300,000) — to complete the first phase of the City’s design effort to upgrade its municipal water distribution system. 
  • City of Macclenny ($905,000) – to extend the City’s water and sewer utilities to allow business development in an underdeveloped area and serve the local elementary school. 
  • City of Brooksville ($750,000) – to relocate water mains, pave streets and install street lighting, fire hydrants, and repair sidewalks. 
  • Town of Campbellton ($600,000) – to improve the Saint Paul Memorial Park and Recreation Center as well as to construct a new downtown park in the business corridor of the town. 
  • Town of Caryville ($600,000) – to improve two of the town’s parks and playgrounds. 
  • City of Chipley ($700,000) – to relocate and reconstruct an existing sanitary sewer lift station. 
  • City of Cottondale ($600,000) – to remove and replace aging components of the city’s master lift station. 
  • Crescent City ($650,000) – to replace more than 2,600 linear feet of aging water main and to install an emergency generator. 
  • City of Edgewater ($750,000) – to replace approximately 10,000 linear feet of sanitary sewer mains. 
  • City of Fellsmere ($700,000) – To replace existing roadways, sidewalks, and landscaping along North Broadway Avenue to the intersection of South Broadway Avenue. 
  • Franklin County ($700,000) – to rehabilitate or replace homes of 10 low- to moderate-income households. 
  • Gadsden County ($750,000) – to rehabilitate or replace homes of 11 low- to moderate-income households. 
  • Town of Grand Ridge ($600,000) – to conduct stormwater drainage improvements at the John Thomas Porter Recreational Facility. 
  • Town of Greensboro ($650,000) – to replace 18 water meters and repave more than 5,000 linear feet of public streets. 
  • Town of Greenwood ($600,000) – to replace more than 5,200 feet of undersized water lines along town roadways. 
  • Hamilton County ($700,000) – to rehabilitate or replace homes of 10 low- to moderate-income households. 
  • City of Hampton ($600,000) – to drill a replacement well, replacing casing, pumps, pipes, and related improvements. 
  • Hernando County ($750,000) – to rehabilitate or replace homes of 11 low- to moderate-income households. 
  • Holmes County ($4,050,000) – to rehabilitate or replace homes of 11 low- to moderate-income households; and to construct a new 1,000 linear foot roadway access, including signalization, lighting, and turn lanes a quarter mile south of I-10 on the west side of State Road 79. 
  • Town of Interlachen ($650,000) – to replace an existing air compressor and associated piping and electrical controls. 
  • City of Jasper ($700,000) – to conduct improvements to the city of Jasper’s Chan Bridge Sanitary Sewer Lift Station. 
  • Town of Lady Lake ($750,000) – to pave approximately 1,900 linear feet of sidewalks within the town. 
  • City of Lawtey ($600,000) – to install 303 water meters to include meter network, billing software, and meter system associated supporting infrastructure. 
  • Town of Malone ($600,000) – to conduct improvements to Johnny Williams Park, including new playground equipment, shade structures, and bleachers. 
  • City of Marianna ($700,000) – to rehabilitate two of the city’s existing water tanks. 
  • Martin County ($750,000) – to rehabilitate or replace homes of 11 low- to moderate-income households. 
  • City of Milton ($700,000) – to conduct improvements to nearly 4,000 linear feet of drainage structures. 
  • City of Niceville ($700,000) – to rehabilitate or replace homes of 10 low- to moderate-income households. 
  • Town of Noma ($600,000) – to include rehabilitation of all 50 of the town’s sewer system manholes and to repave more than 5,000 linear feet of roadways. 
  • Town of Otter Creek ($600,000) – to conduct improvements to the town’s water treatment plant, including the installation of a new storage tank. 
  • City of Palmetto ($750,000) – to rehabilitate or replace homes of 11 low- to moderate-income households. 
  • Town of Penney Farms ($600,000) – to replace more than 2,600 linear feet of water main. 
  • City of Sopchoppy ($600,000) – to conduct improvements to 335 linear feet of flood and drainage infrastructure. 
  • City of Umatilla ($700,000) – to replace 1,500 linear feet of two-inch water mains along city streets. 
  • Town of Welaka ($600,000) – to replace all water meters and automatic read meters and rehabilitate lift station #6. 
  • Town of Westville ($600,000) – to conduct water plant improvements including new and replaced components and upgrades. 
  • Town of Zolfo Springs ($700,000) – to improve the town’s sewer treatment facility as well as improvements to the town’s water treatment facility. 

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