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The state is pouring millions into shoring up economic development in rural North Florida

A "closed" sign on the front door of a building
Patrick Sternad
WFSU Public Media
A "closed" sign is positioned outside a shop on the Lake Ella strip, where many small businesses are located.

During a pair of stops on Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the state is distributing more than $24 million to North Florida communities for local infrastructure and workforce projects.

Outside Grady Market in Apalachicola, the governor said Franklin County will receive $1.3 million for workforce training. DeSantis earlier in the day announced the state will give $23 million to various Florida Panhandle communities.

The money comes from the Rural Infrastructure Fund, the Community Development Block Grant Program and the Hazard Mitigation Match Program, which helps with resiliency in storm-prone areas.

“These are all going to be very meaningful projects, particularly when you're talking about some of the more rural areas,” DeSantis said while at Indian Pass Raw Bar.

“That money goes a lot further than some of our more urban areas.”

The funding includes about $675,000 for Port St. Joe to install a new water line in the downtown commercial area; $3.25 million for Escambia County, to renovate two community centers in Century; nearly $1 million to retrofit fire stations and for wastewater drainage in Panama City; approximately $1.1 million to renovate a senior center and to improve drainage in the commercial corridor in Holmes County; and $1.14 million to expand a multipurpose recreational facility and to expand wastewater infrastructure in Ponce de Leon.

Money going to Jackson County includes $2.4 million for new lift stations and downtown improvements in Cottondale; $5.5 million for public safety in Marianna; $250,000 for community center improvements in Alford; and $4 million for hospital air purification, lift station generators and work at the Blue Springs Recreation Area campground.

Wakulla County will also receive nearly $220,000 for the extension of natural gas services. The Town of Jay in Santa Rosa County will receive $300,000 to help with the renovation of a sports complex.

News Service of Florida