Support sought for demucking projects in Western Palm Beach County

BELLE GLADE — The Lake Okeechobee Regional Economic Alliance is seeking to rouse businesses’ and local civic agencies’ support for Commissioner Melissa McKinlay’s request for state help in local demucking projects.

LORE Administrative Consultant Chris Radentz emailed members of the western Palm Beach County business alliance on Thursday asking for their backing in Ms. McKinlay’s efforts. They want the state to loosen the eligibility rules of the Rural Infrastructure Fund (RIF) to let it assist in financing “earthwork associated with the construction of industrial or commercial sites (and) upgrades.”

The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County is working hard alongside her “to bring employers and good quality economic development to the western region of our county. However, it cost $80,000 per acre to de-muck one acre of land,” said the email blast from LORE and Ms. Radentz. “Commissioner McKinlay has been working hard in Tallahassee to get state assistance to offset this ‘site preparation’ expense, but we need your help.”

She enclosed a form letter for them to send to Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Secretary Kenneth Lawson, requesting that DEO add the “earthwork” language so that RIF money can be released for site preparation. Ms. Radentz said this issue was time-sensitive, so “please send your email of support to: ken.lawson@deo.myflorida.com no later than 3 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 6.”

The suggested letter notes there is a 20% unemployment rate in the Glades region and says, “We are on the precipice of a game changer for the people in the Glades … (who) need jobs, and they need those jobs where they are.”

The letter avers that “by supporting this simple additional language, you will be helping to raise those most in need out of unemployment and provide hope for their futures. Without it, we cannot bring jobs to these people,” calling this a “critical juncture to allow a company to move to the Glades and employ people. We only need to help them cross the finish line.”

Members of the community at large are asked as well to join in their pressure campaign by emailing ken.lawson@deo.myflorida.com.

Learn more by going online to lorealliancepbc.org.

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