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Post Date:06/06/2016 2:50 PM


Designation means the federal government will partner with local leaders to address community revitalization challenges, provide educational and economic opportunities

The United States Department of Agriculture on Monday announced that a Promise Zone has been approved for Southwest Florida, including Immokalee in Collier County and portions of Glades and Hendry counties. The approval comes after the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council applied for the designation.

The designation commits the federal government to partner with local leaders who are addressing multiple community revitalization challenges and have demonstrated a commitment to improving communities. Federal staff will be assigned to the community to help navigate the vast array of federal assistant programs available to Promise Zone designees. Organizations that contribute to the Promise Zone strategies will be given preferred access to some competitive federal programs and will receive technical assistance and other non-competitive support.

Commissioner Tim Nance, whose district includes Immokalee, said the designation is an important step for the Immokalee community.

“Becoming a Promise Zone is another step in the right direction for the Immokalee community,” he said. “This gives us another partner and another set of resources to help spur economic development. We are grateful to the USDA for recognizing the potential Immokalee has to grow and thrive and we look forward to working with our federal partners on this endeavor.”

The primary goals for the Southwest Florida Promise Zone include:
• Growing jobs by developing a Airglades Industrial Park, an Immokalee Airport and An Americas Gateway Logistics & Manufacturing Center;
• Creating eco-tourism attractions and supporting small businesses throughout the region with technical assistance and funding;
• Preventing human trafficking by increasing law enforcement and educating at-risk youth through the “Slave Free” program;
• Improving educational opportunities by expanding the Immokalee Readers Program, the Career Development Program and the Post-Secondary and Career Success Programs of the Immokalee Foundation; and
• Upgrading water and wastewater systems, public transit, roads and streetlights throughout the region.

With the Promise Zone designation, the federal government will partner with and invest in Immokalee to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, expand educational opportunities and improve public safety.

On Feb. 25, Commissioner Georgia Hiller met with Elias Alcantara, associate director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, and discussed how federal funding would be enriched with the Promise Zone designation, as both the state and local government continue to care for economic sensitive areas in Southwest Florida.

“I am thrilled that we have been able to get this Promise Zone designation for Immokalee,” Commissioner Hiller said. “This classification will allow the county to help residents and businesses get much needed support to improve the economy and the quality of life in the Immokalee community.”

For more information, contact Public Information Coordinator Kate Albers at (239) 252-8579.


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