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Four Small, Rural Florida Communities Awarded More Than $5.4 Million

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently awarded more than $5.4 million to the Town of Callahan, the City of Starke, the City of Haines City and the City of Labelle for community development projects that will expand job opportunities and strengthen public infrastructure for residents.




Digvijay “Danny” Gaekwad
“This $5.4 million in infrastructure funding we are awarding today will create opportunities for families and strengthen local economies,” said Governor DeSantis. “We are yet again providing our small and rural communities with the resources they need to grow.”

Projects are funded through the Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF), the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)-CV program, and the Small Cities CDBG program:

  • Town of Callahan ($3,371,000) – to design and build a water treatment facility and wastewater pump, as well as a conveyance pipeline to the Town of Callahan’s wastewater treatment facility. This project will service the Crawford Diamond Industrial Park, which is expected to create a minimum of 500-800 jobs and is an initial capital investment of $450 million.
  • City of Starke ($700,000) – to renovate the RJE Community Center to include a building addition, on-site grading to control storm-water runoff, the replacement and repair of the building’s roof, bathrooms, windows, and the installation of an emergency generator.
  • City of Haines City ($700,000) – to install 9,049 linear feet of new sidewalks in the Park Avenue neighborhood between East Johnson Avenue and Melbourne Avenue on North 18th through North 24th street. This project will benefit 165 households, or 579 people, of which 502 are low- to moderate income.
  • City of Labelle ($700,000) – to rehabilitate or replace 10 low-to moderate income homes.

The RIF program facilitates the planning, preparation, and financing of infrastructure projects in rural communities. Funded projects encourage job creation, capital investment, and the strengthening and diversification of rural economies.

The CDBG-CV program primarily benefits low- and moderate-income residents. Activities benefit workforce housing, training, and sustainability, as well as broadband infrastructure and planning.

The Small Cities CDBG program provides funding for housing and community development activities. Funded projects encourage economic development, commercial and neighborhood revitalization, housing rehabilitation, and infrastructure improvements.

“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ commitment, these small and rural communities will have the resources they need to thrive,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Acting Secretary Meredith Ivey. “DEO is proud to work closely with the communities receiving awards to rehabilitate homes and strengthen infrastructure for future economic development opportunities.”

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