Community Involvement in Escambia County April RESTORE Act Meetings Critical for Funding

With two years of meetings on the community needs assessment and project funding criteria, the Escambia County
RESTORE Act Advisory Committee completed the first of three critical meetings in April as county officials move
closer to receiving funding applications. During the Monday, April 6th advisory committee monthly meeting, the group debated the issue of separating the tourism opportunities funding category from the position of a category under economic development. The committee left tourism under economic development. The advisory committee also decided to keep each major category of Infrastructure, Environment, and Economic Development equal in terms of weighted points, however, they voted to increase the points for minority and disadvantaged projects in the bonus weight area. The Escambia County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee was appointed by the county commissioners in 2013 to manage the process of receiving applications for funds designated for local recovery related to environmental, infrastructure, and economic development projects. There are two critical meetings left in the month of April: Thursday, April 16th Escambia County Commission RESTORE Act Workshop in the Escambia County Government Chambers at 9:00 am. Thursday, April 30th RESTORE Non Profit Non-Governmental Organization Workshop at Gulf Power’s Auditorium at it local corporate headquarters at 8:00 am till 12 noon. With the City of Pensacola, the Town of Century, Escambia County Government, and other governmental agencies possibly seeking RESTORE Act dollars along with the local business community, the non-profit groups based in the African-American and minority neighborhoods are advised to attend these meeting to obtain a better understanding of the application process. In September 2014, The Pensacola Voice documented a meeting that Dewberry Consultants — hired by Escambia County –bheld with representatives of the CIL Disability Resource Center, the Gulf Coast African American Chamber, the NAACP Pensacola Branch Economic Development Committee, and the African-American Heritage Society on. Realizing the level of competition for a limited amount of funding, the article emphasized Dewberry’s consultant’s comments on the importance of non-profit and for-profit businesses collaborating as a strategy for successfully navigating through the Escambia County RESTORE Act process. The Thursday, April 16th meeting is an actual Escambia County Commission RESTORE Act Workshop and will be addressing many issues related to project funding criteria, and weighting factors for project elements in the applications. Public input will be allowed with a three minute limitation. The Thursday, April 30th RESTORE
Act Non-Profit Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Workshop will be held at Gulf Power’s corporate headquarters’ auditorium on 9th Avenue. Escambia County non-profits should be on the lookout for invitations to the workshop in their email and respond immediately to reserve their seats for the event. Groups can contact the Pensacola Voice for additional information concerning either event.

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