PANAMA CITY — The Triumph Gulf Coast board of directors has agreed to move forward with a grant agreement for $8.5 million in site development for Whiting Aviation Park in Santa Rosa County, one of several projects in the Panhandle to receive millions of dollars for economic development.

The Whiting Aviation Park project is expected to create more than 200 high-paying jobs, according to a news release from Triumph Gulf Coast. It is built on the investment of Santa Rosa County to purchase 267 acres adjacent to NAS Whiting Field and a Memorandum of Understanding with The Department of the Navy for “through the fence” accesses for private companies.

The total project cost is more than $17.7 million.

Development of Whiting Aviation Park strengthens the region’s aviation cluster from Pensacola to the west and Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview to the east by providing additional industrial space adjacent to an existing airfield, the news release said. The proposal supports the regional strategic initiative to expand the aerospace and defense industry cluster, an industry with a strong outlook for growth.

Targeted investments in the aviation and aerospace cluster are expected to drive supply chain companies to locate in the region. Florida is currently No. 2 in the nation for aviation and aerospace businesses, and added more than any other state in the Southeast in 2017.

The Triumph Gulf Coast board at a recent meeting also approved funding for various projects in Gulf, Franklin and Bay counties.  

Triumph Gulf Coast’s board members are appointed by the governor, chief financial officer, attorney general and presiding officers of the Legislature. The appointees are Allan Bense, Pam Dana, Chairman Don Gaetz, Ben Lee, Stephen Riggs IV and Jason Shoaf.

More information about Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. is available at www.myfloridatriumph.com.