Wanna know what I'm good at? Faceplants. They are my specialty, almost an art form for me, and I rung in spring recently with the mother of all faceplants that resulted in a fat ankle, two bloody knees and elbow that would make a Navy Seal cringe. My dive and roll was executed with such precision I looked like I got tarred and feathered thanks to a big leaf pile on the side of the road. Make no mistake, the faceplant was definitely not an incorporated part of my marathon training strategy, but it happened, and my humbled self rose from the ground and completed my run with a trail of leaves flying off of me like fairy dust.
I tell you this to not only bring a little humor to your day but also because it serves as a great parallel to what is going on in my world of economic development, believe it or not. April 1st marked the halfway point of the Nassau County Economic Development Board
's fiscal year, one that began with a tremendous bang with ambitious projections (that are being fulfilled so far, by the way) but also one with a few challenges that we were aware could be on the horizon but could never fully prepare for - like a faceplant.
The past, and even more so, present legislative session here in Florida is definitely giving us much to contemplate as we watch and wait to see what the fate of Enterprise Florida and incentives offered to companies that we are recruiting will be overall. Sharing a border with Georgia, we defintiely are reminded on a very regular basis just how often we are duking it out with our neighbors to the north and how they, among others, are watching our every move. We refuse, however, to pump the breaks on the momentum that has brought us such great success thus far despite all else, as we have so much to celebrate and look forward to in terms of economic development here in Nassau County.
Within weeks of the $135 million LignoTech announcement
, we rang in the new year with the official groundbreaking of the mega manufacturing facility and have been working on several other projects with big announcements to accompany them, as well. I had the opportunity to tour the future 55,000sf Rayonier headquarters at Wildlight
and was just blown away by the detail of the building, as it will be a state of the art facility when completed this summer. It's amazing to see that development go from concept to fruition and the inquiries on the area are growing in number by the day - especially on the main and main Wildlight Commerce Park
- a property that is simply on fire right now, and if I were a betting woman, I would put money on something significant coming online here soon. Construction on the $40 million diverging diamond interchange at I-95 and A1A
is now underway and will bring us some dust for a bit, but the end result will make that interchange one of the best in the state and transportation a breeze in and out of Nassau County - that's a promise!!!
The Westside continues to gain steam as we advance the ball with prospects and are responding to regular inquiries on not only the Crawford Diamond Industrial Park
but also the surrounding areas. The aquaponic farming and affordable senior living experts at Traders Hill Farm
and Dayspring Senior Living
, respectively, both in Hilliard, are growing by leaps and bounds and we could not be more proud as we wait to see what they come up with next.
So the roadmap to the proverbial fiscal year finish line has had a few bumps that we didn't plan for - it's ok! We know what we have here in Nassau County and we are determined to forge ahead as we play to win, no matter the circumstances.
As always, I thank you all for your continued support, it is such a pleasure to be of service to you as I, along with the NCEDB team and board, look forward to delivering more great news your way in very short order.
May the best faceplant win.