PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Bay Economic Development Alliance received long-awaited news on Thursday, as the Triumph Gulf Coast Board voted to move forward their grant application for $4.8 million to help fund “Project Gator.”
“This really is going to be a game-changer,” said Becca Hardin, Bay EDA President. “This is a project that we’ve been working really over a year now.”
Project Gator is a collaboration with Bay EDA, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, Space Florida, and a company that has not yet been disclosed, to bring an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility to ECP along with nearly a hundred new jobs.
Hardin said moving forward with the project is a huge milestone for Bay County.
“This is a game-changing project that will help us get traction for further development at our airport,” she said. “It’s important for people to recognize how critically important this project is.”
The facility will be built on a 14.5 acre parcel at the airport, to be developed into an Aviation Center of Excellence.
“One of the things that we’ve always talked about is growing the non-aviation side, or non-airline side of the airport business,” said ECP’s Executive Director, Parker McClellan. “This project brings that to fruition.”
The project is estimated to bring a 1$0.8 million return on investment, with jobs paying 115 percent of the average wage in Bay County. Hardin said the project’s success is due to partnerships between Bay EDA, the airport and Space Florida, an aerospace economic development organization.
“Once we get this one across the finish line, it’ll open up many more doors to bring maintenance, repair and overhaul to Bay County,” Hardin said.
She added that they’re excited to announce the company involved with the project as soon as a few more details are worked out, and that they are looking to build and occupy the new facility by 2021.