WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The Winter Haven metro area had the second-highest rate of population growth in the country, so there’s no better time than now to capitalize on this growth.
“There are needs for infrastructure and there’s really a high payoff for being able to support,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis.
On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded the City of Winter Haven more than $9 million for road improvements at the Intermodal Logistics Center.
It’s one of the largest industrial parks served by rail in the country but it needs better road access to complement the rail serviced by CSX Corp. Currently, there is only one way in and out.
“Right now, CSX has between 600-800 trucks per day coming and going down the same road and when you start to co-mingle that with thousands of employees you start to have problems,” said Bruce Lyon, President Winter Haven Economic Development Council.
The plan is to build a new road that will connect the Intermodal Logistics terminal to the north to Winter Haven neighborhoods.
“We want to make sure that going forward as we have additional land to develop, that every company that looks at this site understands that their workforce has terrific access from the neighborhoods, that will provide the workforce. And it has terrific access from SR-60 for all the trucks and freight that need to come,” Lyon said.
The funding for road construction comes from two sources: The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, administered through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), is providing $6.4 million, and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) providing an additional $3 million.
The funds will also go towards extending the city’s fiber-optic infrastructure, providing high-speed internet to tenants at the center.
The project is expected to create about 5,000 jobs over the next several years.
“By making these road improvements it's really going to provide important linkages. We’re going to be improving access to more than 12,000 acres of an industrial area that will attract new business and generate new jobs for the community," DeSantis said.
Coke Florida has already invested nearly $20 million for a warehouse on the site.