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Tampa Bay got millions from legislators for local projects. Here’s what they are.

Some of the projects approved by the Legislature Friday were similar to those vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
A view from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg  campus in front of the USF St. Pete University Student Center on Monday, March 21, 2022, in St. Petersburg.
A view from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus in front of the USF St. Pete University Student Center on Monday, March 21, 2022, in St. Petersburg. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Sep. 9|Updated Sep. 9

State lawmakers on Friday approved the dispersal of $175 million for more than 200 local projects across the state, including more than 30 in Tampa Bay.

The proposals getting “Local Support Grants” were culled from nearly 1,000 requests submitted by legislators. The grant money was included in the state budget.

Some of the projects approved Friday by the Joint Legislative Budget Commission are similar to ones vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this summer, when he slashed more than $3 billion from the state budget. For instance, a proposed Pinellas law enforcement training facility vetoed by the governor is getting millions in funding from the local grants.

Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, the vice-chairman of the commission, said about 90 of the projects proposed were excluded from consideration “in deference to the governor” because they were considered to be the same as projects DeSantis had vetoed.

No grant funding was recommended for projects that were identical, Trumbull said.

Nearly all of the projects that were approved in Tampa Bay were submitted by Republicans. Democratic Rep. Dianne Hart of Tampa, got one proposal approved. A project by Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, supporting the Foundation of Sickle Cell Disease Research, which is based in South Florida, was also funded.

None of the requests from Democratic Reps. Michele Rayner and Ben Diamond of St. Petersburg, Susan Valdés of Tampa and Andrew Learned of Brandon were approved.

Here’s which projects were approved locally.

Pinellas

  • $15 million to the University of South Florida St. Petersburg to plan and begin construction on a facility to house the Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research & Innovation. It was requested by Rep. Linda Chaney, R-St. Pete Beach. DeSantis had vetoed a request for $75 million for an ocean science center, which would have housed the hub and was the top legislative request of USF leaders. This $15 million allocation is the most of any of the local grants.
  • $3 million for the creation of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office High Liability Training Center to help hone pursuit skills for law enforcement officers. It was requested by Chaney. DeSantis previously vetoed money for a project with a similar goal.
  • $2.5 million for the West Klosterman Preserve, to help preserve 14 acres of land in north Pinellas County from development. The money was requested by Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater. DeSantis vetoed money for a similar project.
Related: Pinellas residents secure $2.5 million state grant to save 14-acre forest
  • $2 million for youth sports playing fields in Palm Harbor; requested by Latvala.
  • $700,000 for a living shoreline initiative at Eckerd College; Chaney had requested $1,020,260.
  • $600,000 for Dunedin Wastewater Treatment Plant Ocean Outfall Pipe Rehabilitation; requested by Latvala.
  • $600,000 for a Pinellas County Grand Canal dredge; requested by Chaney.
  • $500,000 for wave attenuation walls for Clearwater downtown waterfront resiliency; Rep. Nick DiCeglie, R-Indian Rocks Beach, had requested $1.2 million.
  • $500,000 for the Learning Independence For Tomorrow Campus; requested by DeCeglie.
  • $500,000 for The Florida Orchestra on the Go for Tampa Bay; Latvala had requested $740,000.
  • $500,000 for the New Community Health Center in Clearwater; requested by Latvala.
  • $500,000 for Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas and West Pasco for affordable housing infrastructure in Largo; requested by Latvala.
  • $429,395 for SPCA Tampa Bay shelter campus renovation site work; requested by Chaney.
  • $250,000 for increasing food and nutrition security in Pinellas County; requested by Latvala.
  • $250,000 for a pilot program for faith-based adoption initiatives; requested by Latvala.
  • $30,000 for a Red Knot Shorebird Enclosure; requested by Chaney.

Hillsborough

  • $7,218,971 for Hillsborough County Schools for a 16,000-square-foot gymnasium at Tinker K-8, a school at MacDill Air Force Base. The gymnasium will allow the school to have middle school team sports, instead of relying on intramural sports. It was requested by Rep. Lawrence McClure, R-Dover.
  • $750,000 for Tampa Bay Water Morris Bridge Wellfield improvements. The money will go toward new pumps, motors and pipes for 15 of the 20 wells at Morris Bridge Wellfield, which provides drinking water to the Tampa Bay area. Rep. Traci Koster, R-Tampa, had requested $2.5 million.
  • $700,000 for installing a computer-assisted rehabilitation system for veterans at the Veterans Stride Foundation at the International Institute of Orthotics and Prosthetics. It was requested by Rep. Fiona McFarland, R-Sarasota.
  • $500,000 for the City of Temple Terrace Emergency Operations Center; McClure had requested $750,000.
  • $500,000 for the United Food Bank and Services of Plant City Inc. for new building construction; requested by McClure.
  • $500,000 for Plant City water treatment plants 1-4 electrical and controls upgrades; requested by McClure.
  • $400,000 to the Hillsborough Transit Authority to update an interactive voice response system and Trapeze, the ADA scheduling software; requested by Hart.
  • $400,000 for high school workforce development; requested by McClure.
  • $352,000 for a Tampa Jewish Community preventative security initiative; requested by Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa.
  • $250,000 for behavioral health workforce development planning; requested by Latvala.

Pasco

  • $13,500,000 for construction of an agriculture facility for the Academy at the Farm, a charter school in Pasco County. The money was requested by Rep. Randall Maggard, R-Dade City. An estimated 40 jobs will be created to run the center, according to the proposal.
  • $2,750,000 for construction of an indoor athletic center with an event space and hard courts at the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis Center; requested by Maggard.
  • $1,500,000 for developing cyber security equipment for the Security Training Center at the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office; requested by Maggard.
  • $1,100,000 for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office firearm range expansion; requested by Maggard.
  • $1,000,000 for the EPIC Center at Angeline; requested by Maggard.
  • $1,000,000 for Pasco County Strickland Park seawall and beach sand; Rep. Amber Mariano Davis, R-Hudson, had requested $1,850,000.
  • $350,000 for AmSkills Pre-Apprenticeship Recruitment/Expansion & Industry 4.0 MicroCredentials; requested by Mariano Davis.

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