Gov. Scott Optimistic About Prospective Jobs in Panhandle

By: Bergen Baucom
By: Bergen Baucom

Marianna, FL - About 30 local business leaders met with Governor Rick Scott at the Chamber's office Monday. The meeting had no agenda, so topics ranged from tourism and education to a secret business venture that's been approved for state incentive money.

The negotiations with the unnamed textile industry have been called by a code name, "Project Comfort." If approved, the deal could bring 300 new jobs to Marianna.

Doors to the old Alliance building, Project Comforts proposed home, have been locked for the past six years. But last week, Governor Scott approved closing fund dollars to clean up the building. It's a step in the right direction for the project and the 300 potential new workers it would require.

"The state's got to be responsive" Scott said. "You know, we have economic development funds- its your money. It's your sales tax dollars and your property tax dollars and we need to spend those dollars well" he told us.

He also said that the decision to approve the funding had boiled down to three simple principals."Does the project make logical sense? Is it going to create jobs? Is there going to be a return for taxpayers?"

Though community leaders were very optimistic about the project, Marianna City Manager, Jim Dean said it was not a done-deal yet. "The other piece to that is a community development block grant that's in the works with the Department of Economic Opportunity" said Dean.

But according to Scott, Project Comfort could get cozy in its new home sooner than later. "The department of economic opportunity reviewed [the proposed deal], they believed in it, it came to me, we approved it, and I think we're still waiting on the final decision from the company, is that right? Yes [that's right]" Scott said.

An official decision is expected to be reached in the coming weeks.


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