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Jackson County seeks ‘Florida First’ status for 2 sites

Jackson County seeks ‘Florida First’ status for 2 sites

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Jackson County Commissioners this week hired David H. Melvin Inc. to continue working toward the certification of two commercial sites here as “Florida First” locations that, once certified as such, could more readily draw the attention of companies looking for locations to set up shop.

The Florida First program was developed, and continues to be fostered, by Gulf Power, which now partners with Quest Solutions in the certification process.

Melvin’s job is to develop the materials that could convince Gulf Power those sites are suitable for potential certification and to select them for the process.

One of the targeted sites is the proposed Endeavor Commerce Park and encompasses more than 600 acres in the roughly 1,048-acre spread once associated with the old Dozier School for Boys. That school close several years ago with many of its old buildings now demolished or being repurposed by the local government.

Jackson County and Marianna leadership are working together toward the goal of making the location a hub of economic activity and growth for the area.

The other potential certification site is Spanish Trail Commerce Park. It includes roughly 187 acres and is adjacent to Interstate 10 near Marianna’s east-end exit.

The $300,000 task will be funded through the county’s existing Department of Economic Rural Infrastructure grant.

The certification process includes gathering and compiling in-depth information about those two locations into a report that Gulf Power would evaluate in considering for potential certification, and that ultimately companies could use to help determine if the site is right for them.

The process also involves documenting site preparation needs and accomplishments related to infrastructure such as water, power, sewer services and more.

Melvin is expected to acquire surveys, preliminary engineering designs, and professional services that move the sites toward the ultimate goal of certification through the Gulf Power program.

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