On July 18, 2019, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the Economic Development Administration, Dr. John Fleming, joined the Emerald Coast Regional Council, the City of Pensacola, and Port Panama City to announce the award of more than $22 million in federal funding. The City of Pensacola was awarded $12.2 million for the construction of a 173,000 sq. ft., maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) hanger. Construction costs for this project are an estimated $49 million. When fully operational ST Engineering Aerospace anticipates creating 400 new high paying jobs in the aviation and aerospace industry. This hanger (known as Hangar 2) is one of 4 hangars anticipated to be built at the Pensacola International Airport.
The Panama City Port project was awarded $10 million for the construction of a biomass storage facility with the capacity to store 20,000 tons of biomass products. The creation of additional capacity will allow Enviva Partners, LP. to increase its bulk cargo exporting capabilities by 200,000 tons per year and generate an estimated $50 million in new export activity per year. The increase in export capabilities will result in the expansion of Enviva’s Cottondale Plant, in Cottondale, Florida (Jackson County). The project serves to diversify the employment base in Bay and Jackson counties, by providing its citizens an opportunity to move beyond poverty and low-wage jobs by creating 172 new jobs.
The announcements took place at the Pensacola International Airport and at the Panama City Port in Panama City. The City of Pensacola and the Panama City Port Authority partnered with the Emerald Coast RC, who initially informed the entities of funding availability and subsequently provided the proposal submission services for both grants; as well as providing grant management services and ongoing support. These awards highlight the hard work and dedication of the Emerald Coast RC and the importance of regional planning councils and economic development districts. In attendance, were the EDA Atlanta Regional Director Phil Paradice and EDA’s Florida state representative Greg Vaday, as well as representatives from ST Engineering Aerospace and Enviva Partners, LP.