The City of Avon Park, with the help of the Highlands County Economic Development office and the Central Florida Regional Planning Council, has been awarded a grant of $971,500 to fund water and wastewater infrastructure improvements to serve businesses in north Avon park.
The funds were awarded from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. The project will include the extension of a 12” water distribution line for approximately 2.25 miles and an 8” sewer force main for approximately 2 miles along US 27 in north Avon Park up to the county line.
“The City of Avon Park is honored to be named a recipient of the Governor’s Florida Job Growth Grant Fund for the extension of water and wastewater lines in the northern part of Avon Park and Highlands County,” said Avon Park City Councilwoman Maria Sutherland. “This grant is an incredibly important resource for Florida’s inland communities, and we look forward to the positive impact the infrastructure improvements will provide for existing businesses and for the attraction of new industry – both of which will ultimately result in job creation and further economic development opportunities. We are thankful for Governor Scott’s commitment to economic development through this fund, and for the support of our local, regional, and state partners: Highlands County Economic Development, the Central Florida Regional Planning Council, and the Department of Economic Opportunity throughout the grant process.”
Along with numerous existing commercial businesses that run along the extension route, existing and incoming industry will also benefit from the infrastructure improvements.
Already located within this area is Sun Pure Holding, an international plastics recycling and manufacturing company that acquired an existing 90,000+ square foot facility and chose Avon Park as the location of its first U.S. production facility. These infrastructure improvements will enable the company to properly sprinkler the facility and become fully operational.
The recent announcement of Nucor’s steel rebar mill directly on the northern side of the Highlands County line in Frostproof is slated to create 250 new high-paying jobs. The site does not currently have access to water or wastewater lines, and it is most feasible for the City of Avon Park to extend water and wastewater lines to this area.
“This project will bring development opportunities that will ultimately result in job creation and economic diversification for our community,” said Commissioner Jim Brooks, Highlands County Board of County Commissioners Chairman. “This project will provide a proactive opportunity to promote expansion of current industry and attraction of new industry. The area to be serviced by the infrastructure improvements is an area with high growth potential. There is additional vacant industrial land along US 27 and CSX rail. Having City of Avon Park water and wastewater at the properties makes them more competitive for future development opportunities.”
Pursuant to section 228.101, F.S., the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund was created to promote economic development opportunities by improving public infrastructure and enhancing workforce training.
Central Florida Regional Planning Council Executive Director, Pat Steed stated, “This grant is an opportunity to build critical infrastructure. We applaud the State of Florida for their dedication to support projects that enhance the growth of our community. Through the efforts of local, regional, and economic partners we now have the opportunity to attract private sector investment supporting the economy and creating jobs.”
Commencement will start once the grant is accepted and the agreement has been negotiated. The project is slated to be completed this summer.