United States EDA Believes in Lake Worth
After an extensive review process, the City of Lake Worth is pleased to announce it is the recipient of a grant from the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA) in the amount of $1,389,100. The funding will be used to complete infrastructure improvements along Boutwell Road. The improvements will boost job growth in the Lake Worth Park of Commerce – which is the primary consideration of the grant award by the EDA.
The 400 acre Park of Commerce requires infrastructure improvements to reach its potential. Improvements along the Boutwell Road corridor include: stormwater retention, water lines, sewer lines, electric lines, telecommunication capacity and a new roadway with lighting and landscaping. Additionally, new sidewalks have been included in the design work. This will make it safer for children to travel to and from school, as well as, providing a safer route for other pedestrians and bicyclists. To view a map of the Park of Commerce and the plans, click here.
Winning an award from the EDA is extremely competitive. At the time of announcement, Lake Worth was one of only three winners nationwide. Although the City has applied for the grant before, the “homework” had not been completed making it virtually impossible for the City to receive grant funding.
In order to be eligible for an EDA grant, a project must be “shovel-ready.” This means that all engineering design work, engineering and environmental reports, and cost analysis had to be completed. These documents must be forwarded to the State of Florida Clearinghouse for approval by the various affected agencies. Further, the City had to indicate that it had the ability to contribute to the project.
An important part of the application process was inclusion in the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS. The federal government only provides grants to projects that are beneficial to the region. Lake Worth worked with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council to demonstrate how the development and job creation in the Park of Commerce was not only good for the city and its residents, but also the region as a whole.
Strategic alliances played a key role in bringing the project to fruition. The Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners were vital partners. As the project moves into the implementation phase, the PBC Department of Community Sustainability will continue to work hand-in-hand with Lake Worth providing their expertise.
In a press conference held on February 16, Mayor Pam Triolo emphasized the role that the EDA grant will have in changing job prospects in Lake Worth. The return on investment of the award: $20 million in private investment and 320 new jobs.
There are several additional important factors that residents should understand about the use of federal grant funding in Lake Worth:
- This money is specifically for economic development, meaning that it cannot be used for neighborhood streets or residential improvements.
- Likewise, residents should know that their property taxes will not contribute to the project.
- Businesses in the Park of Commerce will pay taxes to the City of Lake Worth, bringing additional revenue to the City.