Funding supports Mayor’s vision for port, fosters job creation

 Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward joined with the Greater Pensacola Chamber today in celebrating the passage of a $2 million appropriation from the State of Florida for an economic development initiative at the Port of Pensacola.

Hayward greeted the news with excitement when he learned about the appropriation’s passage from a phone call to his office Tuesday morning.

“This is a great win for the Port and for Pensacola,” said Hayward.  “I want to thank again all the members of my Port Advisory Committee who helped to identify this market niche for our Port.  Those recommendations were the basis for this new Port policy, and for the appropriations we sought from the State.  Their hard work, and the work of the Chamber who assisted in securing this funding, has paid off.”

Of the $2 million dollars appropriated from the Florida State Transportation Trust Fund, $1.2 million will fund improvements to the Port’s Warehouse 9, which will be retrofitted to accommodate the fabrication and repair of high-tech subsea equipment. The remaining $800,000 will fund Phase II of the Port’s shore side utility improvements project, including the installation of sanitary sewer receiving stations for berthed vessels. Hayward said those improvements would enable the Port to serve more ships, as well as be cleaner and quieter, with shore-side power eliminating the need for loud, diesel-burning on-ship generators to power ship operations.

According to the Greater Pensacola Chamber, which provided jobs data and economic impact studies to support the appropriation, the new funding will allow for approximately 100 jobs.

“The Chamber is pleased to be able to continue to partner with the City on its directive to bring in additional industry to the Port of Pensacola,” said Jim Hizer, President & CEO of the Greater Pensacola Chamber. “The development of the Port further supports the Chamber’s initiative to create 3,000 jobs in five years.” In addition to the $2 million economic development appropriation, the Port will also receive a $1.64 million FSTED grant, paid for with a 25% local match from the City, to repair and rehabilitate Berth 6, which will increase the capacity of the Port to handle ships by 25%.  That grant was awarded as part of a yearly competitive grant process from the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development (FSTED) Council.

“I want to thank Senator Don Gaetz for sponsoring this project in the Legislature, and I am grateful to Governor Scott and Secretary Prasad for their support of this initiative,” Hayward continued.  “I spent a lot of time on the phone and in Tallahassee lobbying them both, as well as members of the legislature for this appropriation, and I’m pleased that they saw fit to approve this project.  Governor Scott and his administration have made getting people back to work a priority, and this appropriation validates our new Port policy of creating economic opportunity and sustainable jobs in Pensacola.”

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