BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — After a challenging year, the Bay Economic Development Alliance is looking forward to 2021.
The EDA says it expects several projects to materialize this year.
Becca Hardin, President of the Economic Development Alliance, says right now there are nine very active projects, which are all in different stages of development.
“One we are very confident we will be able to go forward with– we actually have the BP Oil Spill Triumph Gulf Coast settlement to help fund that. It’s a 4.8 million dollar grant. It’s called Project Gator. It’s a project that’s going to be at the airport.” said Hardin.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, their marketing strategies have shifted. With mostly virtual meetings and a lot of virtual marketing, it’s been harder to recruit people to the area without that face to face interaction.
“Companies aren’t going to make decisions on a multi-million dollar piece of property or a multi-million dollar facility if they don’t see it, and if they don’t put their feet on the ground,” said Hardin.
A big part of recruiting these companies to bay county is to help lower the unemployment rate.
“It’s all about employment, and all about increasing per capita income, so we can increase the wealth and the economy in the great community we live in,” said Hardin.
Working with both international and domestic companies, several projects have been brought to Bay County due to the GKN Aerospace Facility— a state of the art advanced manufacturing center they are currently looking to fill.
“We don’t want that building sitting there with no one working in it. We are feverously working to get a good company in there that will have as many jobs or even more than GKN committed to when they first came to Bay County,” said Hardin.
And with three prospects looking at the facility, Hardin does not expect that building to be on the market much longer.
The EDA expects their next big announcement for Project Gator to take place in March.