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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Aug. 2, 2021 5 months ago

Volusia County lands $4 million federal economic development grant

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The funds will be used to expand infrastructure improvements to prepare the airport’s commercial/industrial park for future development. 
by: Guest Writer

by: Gary Davidson

Volusia County Government Community Information

Volusia County’s ongoing economic development efforts to lure more industry and jobs to the Daytona Beach International Airport received a major boost with the announcement on July 29 that Volusia County has landed a $4 million federal economic development grant.

The grant funds from the U.S. Economic Development Administration will be used to expand infrastructure improvements to prepare the airport’s commercial/industrial park for future development. Targeting research and manufacturing, the infrastructure improvements are expected to result in $150 million private investment and the creation of 360 jobs. Volusia County also is contributing $1 million in matching funds, a requirement for obtaining the grant. While the project hasn’t been publicly disclosed yet, it has been dubbed “Project COVID.”

The grant program is part of the federal government’s efforts to help the country recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. Volusia County Manager George Recktenwald said the grant award will give the county economy a welcome booster shot.

“We’re extremely excited about today’s announcement and the impact it’s going to have in making our airport that much more competitive and attractive to private business and industry,” Recktenwald said. “This is the product of a lot of hard work and collaboration with our federal partners, and the end result will be job growth for our community.”

The tract of land at the county-owned and operated airport has been targeted for private development for years. The county has been looking for a funding partner, but most prior grant opportunities typically came with a required 50% match in local funds. However, due to the pandemic, the federal government reduced the match requirement to 20%. The county jumped at the opportunity and applied for the grant in July 2020. The money will be used for site improvements such as water and sewer infrastructure and a drainage retention pond needed to make the parcel shovel-ready, a huge enticement for any business searching for a parcel to develop.

“President Biden is committed to harnessing the full power of the federal government to ensure our nation not only recovers from this pandemic but builds back stronger,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo in a news release from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance program, provides a wide range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

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