The Immokalee CRA will partner with Glades & Hendry counties and Southwest Florida regional planners to establish a Promise Zone, backed by and supported with the resources of the U.S. government.
Collier County commissioners approved the partnership Nov. 18 and work will begin immediately to lay the ground work and submit an application for the valued designation to the U.S. Housing & Urban Development Department (HUD). The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council, a 6-county planning agency, will oversee and coordinate the application process.
The Promise Zone initiative, announced by the Obama Administration in 2013 and set into motion in 2014, is intended to "create a better bargain for the middle-class by partnering with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand educational opportunities, increase access to quality, affordable housing and improve public safety," according to White House documents.
"The Promise Zone designation commits the federal government to partner with local leaders who are addressing multiple community revitalizaton challenges and have demonstrated a commitment to improving communities," explained Bradley Muckel, executive director of the Immokalee CRA. "(If approved) federal staff will be assigned to each community to help navigate the vast array of federal assistance programs available to Promise Zone designees.
"In addition, organizations contributing to Promise Zone strategies will be given preferred access to some competitive federal programs and will received technical assistance and other non-competitive support," Muckel continued . "Businesses investing in Promise Zones or hiring residents of Promize Zone will be eligible for tax incentives, if eventually approved by the Congress."
Immokalee is already under the jurisdiction of a number of federal and state supported designations, all of which offer an array of government and public-private opportunities for the community, for its entrepreneurs, its working people and major economic contributors.