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Florida awards $3.5 million to Port St. Lucie to spur job growth

Money awarded as part of Florida Job Growth Grant Fund
Gov. Ron DeSantis holds giant $3.5 million check awarded to city of Port St. Lucie, Aug. 6, 2021
Posted at 9:40 AM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 17:23:34-04

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The city of Port St. Lucie has received a $3.5 million grant intended to spur job growth along the Treasure Coast.

"We think that St. Lucie (County) is an important part of Florida," Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a news conference Friday at TAMCO, a manufacturing facility at the Tradition Center for Commerce.

He was joined by Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle.

The money was earmarked as part of a $74 million pledge to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund.

"That's going to contribute to over 5,000 jobs here in the area," Eagle said. "That's hugely important, especially as we're coming out of COVID, to make sure that we are putting our money where our mouth is."

Dane Eagle, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity secretary at TAMCO in Port St. Lucie, Aug. 5, 2021
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle speaks during a news conference, Aug. 6, 2021, at TAMCO in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

The money will be used to help build up a commercial development at the Tradition Center for Commerce that promises up to 5,000 jobs.

City leaders said the project has been planned for years and now will coincide with the construction of tens of thousands of homes and apartments in the fast-growing area.

"If you look at a map of Florida, it all makes sense," Wes McCurry, director of the city's Community Redevelopment Agency, told WPTV. "Port St. Lucie is probably a day's truck drive turnaround time for about 80% of Florida's population."

DeSantis said it's an indicator of continued job growth throughout the state, "even though we got whacked in March and April of 2020" because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're open," DeSantis said. "You know, we want people to be free to choose to work and to run their businesses and have their kids in school, and we think that that's been very, very significant in allowing Florida to really be a leader in so many things related to the economy and jobs, and we want to keep it going."

DeSantis said more money is on the way to other cities and counties throughout the state.

TAMCO opened last year, providing hundreds of jobs on the Treasure Coast.