St. Johns County Receives $26.5M in Appropriations

St. Johns County is getting a financial boost from the state with $26.5 million in appropriations for five projects, including public safety, transportation, beach restoration and cultural affairs, according to a county media release.

A $7.5 million appropriation will go toward the All Hazards Regional Fire Training Facility and Unified Command Center project.

“This facility will feature training infrastructure for fire suppression, urban search and rescue, hazmat response, and EMS,” the release states. “The Unified Command Center will provide a coordinated response to large-scale incidents on Interstate 95 and the Florida East Coast rail corridor.”

 Another $7.5 million goes toward the first phase of work on State Road 16 to widen the existing two-lane road to four lanes. The project includes construction of bike lanes, sidewalks and medians to prevent illegal passing, according to the release.

A $6.5 million state appropriation will be used for the second phase of a project on County Road 2209 to provide traffic relief to Interstate 95 and U.S. 1. These funds will kick off the construction from International Golf Parkway to State Road 16, according to the release.

Dune restoration at South Ponte Vedra Beach will be fueled by a $4.75 state appropriation that matches nearly $10n million in federal funds.

“Once complete, this engineered beach will provide durable protection of property, public infrastructure, and vulnerable ecosystems,” the release states. “The project also provides additional recreational opportunities for residents and tourists.”

The final appropriation of $225,000 goes to the Lincolnville Museum to preserve African American history and culture in St. Augustine according to the release. The project will install exterior security enhancements, such as lighting and security cameras, sound domes, and braille, to make exhibit content more accessible and inclusive.

During an update for county commissioners, Adam Tecler, director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs said the state budget offers the county access to state conservation funds as well.

 “There is approximately $440 million in unexpended funds available for land acquisition through the Florida Forever Program, the state’s blueprint for conserving Florida’s natural and recreation lands, including those located within the Florida Wildlife Corridor,” he said in the release. “In addition to funding the Florida Forever Program, the state’s budget makes available $200 million to protect Florida’s working agricultural lands and family farms, including up to $100 million in recurring funds for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. The budget presents a significant funding opportunity for critical conservation projects in St. Johns County.”