Gov. DeSantis announces $2.7M to support King’s Landing development in Fort Pierce
By Renzo Downey, Florida Politics, August 30, 2022
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a $2.7 million infrastructure award to support an upcoming development in Fort Pierce.
DeSantis traveled to the Treasure Coast city on Tuesday to announce the latest distribution from the Job Growth Grant Fund. In Fort Pierce, the state will help pay to reconstruct aging utility infrastructure, reconstruct a portion of Indian River Drive, make pedestrian safety enhancements and improve the historic Moores Creek Bridge, all to benefit the upcoming 8 acre mixed-use King’s Landing site.
“By improving this infrastructure and addressing transportation needs, the project will support additional growth in nearby areas like the Port of Fort Pierce and the Fisherman’s Wharf project,” DeSantis said. “We’re very bullish on St. Lucie County as a whole, we think Fort Pierce really is a great spot and I think this is really going to help the area continue to blossom.”
The state anticipates the program will create 1,300 jobs and have a fiscal impact of $5 million. The development is expected to attract new businesses like restaurants, retail and even a hotel.
The Job Growth Grant Fund is an infrastructure and workforce support program available for distribution at the discretion of the Governor’s Office and the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). The fund, created in 2017, covers job training and public infrastructure projects rather than providing dollars directly to businesses.
DeSantis touted the success of the Job Growth Grant Fund, which lawmakers stocked this year with $50 million in federal coronavirus recovery dollars approved by Democrats in Congress and President Joe Biden.
“There are certain things that if you can provide an underlying support for infrastructure, then the economy and all this stuff has an opportunity to really grow,” DeSantis said. “We’ve done that in various portions of the state. And we’ve had a lot of impact and businesses have moved and there’s been expansion.”
The Governor and DEO leadership have traveled the state in recent years highlighting infrastructure and the strength of the Florida economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Democrats consistently criticize DeSantis for not crediting the Biden administration for the American Rescue Plan funds.
“It’s disappointing but not surprising to see Governor DeSantis hold a press conference taking credit for infrastructure funding passed by President Biden and Democrats. After all, this isn’t the first time DeSantis has tried to take credit for Democrats’ accomplishments,” Florida Democratic Party spokesperson Travis Reuther said in a statement. “While DeSantis focuses on furthering his political career and punishing people who disagree with him, President Biden and Democrats are delivering on an economic agenda that creates jobs and lowers costs for Floridians.”
DeSantis also traveled to Suwannee County, where he unveiled $1.9 million through the Job Growth Grant Fund for a 500-acre industrial park. The project will expand water distribution and treatment infrastructure, adding an estimated 1,040 jobs to the area.
“The Department of Economic Opportunity is proud to support Governor DeSantis’ efforts to invest in Florida communities to attract new businesses and create new opportunities for hardworking Floridians,” DEO Secretary Dane Eagle said. “We will continue to work closely with communities like Suwannee County to connect them with unique opportunities that stimulate their local economies and maximize positive impacts on their residents.”
Fort Pierce Republican Rep. Dana Trabulsy, who appeared alongside the Governor, thanked him and said the project will bring jobs, tourism, entrepreneurship and small businesses to the community.
“We are just so excited that you have deemed it important to invest in our little slice of heaven here,” Trabulsy said.