Industrial sites in Sumter and Lake counties are being honored by Duke Energy.
The two counties, along with Highlands County, were singled out as success stories among Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program, which strives to increase the number of competitive industrial sites in the company’s service territory. That brings the total number of Florida sites chosen for the program to 26 since it was launched six years ago.
Duke Energy partners with communities and site selection experts to identify and evaluate locations within its 35-county Florida service territory. The sites ultimately chosen for the program provide the greatest potential for attracting businesses and bringing new jobs to the area.
“Our Site Readiness Program is a long-term investment in local people and vibrant communities,” said Elizabeth Godwin, Duke Energy’s site readiness program manager. “Coupling competitive sites, prime for development, with effective workforce strategies leads to successful projects that transform lives through new jobs and benefit communities with added tax revenues.”
In Sumter County, the Governor Rick Scott Industrial Park, which includes 431 acres and is adjacent to Interstate 75 and the CSX Railroad, received the prestigious honor.
“Partnering with Duke Energy on the site readiness study for this large industrial site in Sumter County is a tremendous opportunity to position it for rapid development,” said Frank Calascione, Sumter County’s economic development director. “With an enviable list of attributes including rail, water, sewer, fiber and natural gas, the site is perfect for industrial development.
“However, by taking the opportunity to pre-emptively answer the many questions involved in a site’s development, all stakeholders are in a better position to advance the project.”
In Lake County, a 115-acre site located east of the Christopher C. Ford Industrial Park was recognized as the most successful park in Lake County.
“Understanding a site’s strengths and shortcomings is critical for attracting quality economic development projects,” said Tracy Garcia, director of Elevate Lake Economic Development. “This property is in one of Lake County’s hottest areas poised for exponential growth, where U.S. Hwy. 27, State Road 19 and the Florida Turnpike converge. And Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program will help to identify essential infrastructure that is needed for successful recruitment of targeted industries.”
Within Duke Energy’s subsidiaries in Florida, the Carolinas, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, the Site Readiness Program has resulted in 41 major project wins since 2005. These industrial projects are expected to produce 9,200 new jobs while spurring more than $7.6 billion in capital investments.
The program was recognized by Southern Business and Development magazine as one of the “South’s Top 10 Site Programs” and was noted as one of the main reasons the company has been consistently named as one of the nation’s “Top 10 Utility Economic Development Programs” by Site Selection magazine.
For more information about Duke Energy’s economic development programs, or to inquire about available project-ready sites, visit duke-energy.com/economic.