Creating a more competitive community


Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, spoke to local officials during the community celebration completing the Competitive Florida Partnership grant process.

Tim Croft | The Star
Published: Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 09:30 AM.

Having completed the work, local economic development officials hope to be on more competitive ground.

A community celebration Monday completed the initial effort under a Competitive Florida Partnership grant with city and county economic development stakeholders transitioning into the next phase of filling in the vision of a more economically-competitive community.

The celebration completed roughly six months of work under the grant, an effort from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The city of Port St. Joe was one of four communities selected to participate in the pilot program.

The layered aim of the Competitive Florida Partnership was to extend the growth in Florida’s economy over the past four or five years into rural and smaller communities which may be experiencing economic benefits in scattershot fashion.

Since the cratering of the real estate market and slowdown in the economy in the middle of the last decade, Florida has added 600,000 private sector jobs, seen the unemployment rate drop more than two percentage points and become one of the top states in economic growth, said Jesse Panuccio, executive director of the DEO, who attended Monday’s event at Capital City Bank.

But, he said, not all communities, particularly small rural communities, have been equal.

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