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Jackson County eyes old Verizon building for grant try

Jackson County eyes old Verizon building for grant try

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County eyes old Verizon building for grant try

Jackson County is trying for a grant that would allow it to buy this old Verizon building as part an overall effort to improve “the Y,” a triangle-like intersection where SR 71 and U.S. 90 meet in Marianna.

A two-week period began April 1 for the public to weigh in on Jackson County’s intention to seek almost $400,000 in grants to buy and potentially rehabilitate the old Verizon building and the lot it occupies at the triangle intersection of U.S 90 and State Road 71 in Marianna, the area also known as “the Y.”

The public comment period will end at 5 p.m. on April 15.

The county plans to ask the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for the money, hoping to tap the agency’s Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and the Rebuild Florida Hometown Revitalization program that comes under that umbrella.

(DEO) is making available $60 million in CDBG-DR/Rebuild Hometown funding to local governments that were impacted by Hurricane Michael.

The county recently issued public notice of its plan to seek money for the Verizon building project on its website, to inform citizens and solicit their comments on the proposed application for Jackson County. The notice goes on to indicate that the county is seeking to improve the “Y” generally.

For information on this public notice or projects, to provide comments on proposed projects listed below, or to receive a copy of the draft CDBG-DR applications, contact Sydney Stone Armstrong, Jackson County Grants/Contracts Coordinator at 850-718-6570 or armstrongs@jacksoncountyfl.gov. The application is also available for review at Jackson County Board of County Commission Administrative Offices at 2864 Madison St., Marianna, FL 32448.

Jackson County is seeking a maximum of $386,741 “to assist with commercial revitalization of the triangle intersection area of Highways 90 and 71 in unincorporated Jackson County,” the notice states. With this funding, it continues, the county would acquire the old Verizon store at 2811 Highway 71 and “rehabilitate this structure for future use.”

The notice does not give further information on what the use of the building might be, but the draft grant request, still being potentially modified through April 15, indicates that the county would rehabilitate the building, then market it in hopes of selling or leasing it to a job-producing entity, a move that could benefit the low-to-moderate-income population of the county, the county asserts. It is also described as a “kick-start revitalization effort of a commercial corridor.”

Originally, the county planned to ask for roughly $815,000, in hopes of embarking on a more extensive improvement project in the area surrounding the Verizon building, but eventually narrowed it to the that structure alone.

The draft version of the grant request, as of Tuesday, list the following as some of the potential project costs:

Activity Project Estimate

Acquisition of Property: $55,296

Architectural/Engineering Design:$27,500

Environmental Review/appraisal: $12,000

Project Construction: $289,475

Project Administration: $31,900

Total: $386,741

The county would contribute a local match to finish out the total projected budget of $430,641. That estimated $43,900 would be set aside in the next fiscal year if the grant were approved.

In the draft grant request, the county speaks of the importance of the commercial corridor that the building is part of. “It is in one of the unincorporated county’s main commercial district(s), identified by the concentration of shopping plazas and commercial properties” in the community, county officials said.

“This building/area is significant to the economic recovery of Jackson County as it sits in the center of the district, visible to all who pass by, frequent the shops, or consider locating their business in the area, the application narrative continued.

“The proposed acquisition will purchase the damaged structure and the half-acre lot of land (it occupies). The county then proposes a full rehabilitation of the structure, including roof replacement, structural remediation, window, door and electrical system work, HVAC replacement, flooring and more. After rehabilitation, the property will be offered for sale or lease to a business that commits to providing low-to-moderate-income jobs. The creation of low-to-moderate-income jobs will be tracked and monitored by the county to ensure the national objective for this project is met,” the document states.

The national objective refers to the grant program’s focus on assisting that income-level population.

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