In my update on Americas Gateway, I included a never before published conceptual site plan for the 770+ acres of DUDA-owned property south of the railroad track, noting that it represents just under 9 million square feet of potential manufacturing, warehouse/ distribution and commercial space. At a conservatively projected cost of construction of $100 a square ft. this represents in excess of $900 million in building stock at build out.  That translates to between $8 and 10 million a year in ad valorem taxes to Glades County and a further $4 to $6 million annually to the Glades County School District.

That’s worth getting excited about.

Then I remind myself that folks in Glades County are naturally suspicious of anything that sounds to them too good to be true, having been promised multiple times that an economic turnaround is just around the corner, only to be disappointed when factors beyond their control quash their dreams.

So I’ll take this opportunity to be candid.

When last I wrote in March, I predicted that 2014 would be a great year in Glades County.

 We had hosted FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad at an event in January, ed to begin planning for future improvements on US 27 to serve the entrance of Americas Gateway and the Glades County Business and Commerce Park.

 I noted that the county had set aside $1.3 million in reserves toward infrastructure improvements for their business park and that we were working to secure grant funding to extend that infrastructure into AGLC. The sewer line in the business park was already in place, and we hoped to get the rest of the infrastructure, including turn lanes off SR 78 and US 27 in place this year.  I also said much of this was being done in anticipation of building the Gateway Logistics and Manufacturing Training Center in the Glades County Business and Commerce Park and to make way for construction of a travel center at the entrance to Americas Gateway.

Editor’s note: The following blog is taken from opening remarks presented by Glades EDC Executive Director Tracy Whirls at the recent Discussion with FDOT Secretary Anath Prasad event held Jan. 30, 2014 at the Glades County Health Department.

2014 is going to be a great year in Glades County. We have a new board of County Commissioners who are very engaged in economic development. We have a new commission chair, Commissioner Donna Storter Long, who will be joining the EDC board at our February meeting. We have a new County Manager, Paul Carlisle, who started January 2 and has hit the ground running.