MILTON — City leaders have agreed to apply for two job growth grants funded by the state that will assist with upcoming projects.
Gov. Rick Scott recently approved an $85 million job growth grant fund, created to promote economic opportunity by improving public infrastructure and enhancing workforce training. According to City Manager Brian Watkins, cities can submit applications for review by the state, and if the state supports the funding they will accept it; Watkins and staff have two projects in mind for the grant.
Milton staff recommends submitting applications for both the East Milton Water Reclamation Facility and the South Riverwalk extension.
The EMWRF project has been on the city’s drawing boards for almost a decade and calls for building a facility on 24 acres in the Santa Rosa Industrial Park that can ultimately accommodate an average daily flow of up to eight million gallons of wastewater. For the Riverwalk extension project, the city plans to extend the Riverwalk south toward the train trestle.
“The quicker we get grant applications in, probably the better opportunity we will have to [get funded],” Watkins said. “There is not necessarily any requirement for a match.”
Although the city is not required to match funds for this grant, Watkins said the city can fund approximately $8 million of the $30 million EMWRF project; therefore, the submitted application would be for approximately $22 million.
“On the Riverwalk south [project], we anticipated probably having to put in at least half a million on that one, so we’d like to submit somewhere between $400,000 and $500,000,” Watkins said.
The combined $8.5 million from the city will not be coming out of the general fund but from multiple city funds. According to Watkins, the city will likely have to take out a loan to make up whatever amount of the EMWRF project that the city cannot cover.
The City Council agreed to allow the city staff to submit applications for these projects. City staff will soon begin the application process.