POLK COUNTY’S economic development councils — EDCs for short — are tremendously active organizations. That fact was reinforced Oct. 4 when leaders of Tucker Paving, Inc., attended the 2017 annual meeting of the Central Florida Development Council, the county’s lead economic development organization. Among the meeting highlights was discussion about the CFDC’s role in many company-recruitment, business-building, and job-boosting projects that were either announced, launched, or completed since the previous annual meeting in the fall of 2016.
In addition to and in coordination with the CFDC are more local but no-less-busy EDCs in Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Lakeland, and Haines City. Among the EDCs we list on the Resources page of our website — www.tuckerpaving.com/links/resources — is the Haines City Economic Development Council, ably led in day-to-day operations by President Cyndi Jantomaso.
“We exist to create and sustain a prosperous and diverse business community,” the Haines City EDC states on its website — hainescityedc.com. “In concert with government, investors, educational, and economic development partners, the mission of the EDC is to build a diverse economy. This mission will be achieved by initiating business investment and trade, and by leading the city’s efforts, thereby positioning Haines City as an excellent business location.”
The EDC’s directors, investors, and partners are looking to add to the several economic development success stories that have written in the greater Haines City area the past couple of years. Among the bigger headline makers were these achievements:
• In April 2016, the city and EDC celebrated the opening of the 72,000-square-foot Crown Linen commercial laundry facility on Dyson Road. The company, a leading laundry provider for Florida’s major hospital hubs, started in Haines City with about 60 employees and was expected to employ about 300 people at peak operating capacity.
• In early June this year, officials with the Aldi supermarket company provided details about a planned expansion of the company’s already-big distribution center in Haines City. The company then received a nice tax break from the Haines City City Commission so it could move forward with the 200,000-square-foot expansion project at 2651 State Road 17.
• On July 17, EDC officials were on hand, along with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, for the grand opening of the new Walmart E-Commerce Fulfillment Center north of Davenport. The distribution center is a big one for local jobs, creating 1,500 of them.
J.R. Garcia, the chief operating officer for Crown Linen, is on the board of directors of the Haines City EDC, and his company is an EDC investor-partner. He’s been very complimentary about the work of the EDC and its involvement in the company’s move to Haines City. His thoughts have been captured on the EDC website at hainescityedc.com/investors:
“As a new business settling into Haines City, Crown Linen received such invaluable support from the Haines EDC, that when it came time to decide on supporting them, there really was no decision to make,” Garcia states. “It was automatic and understood that we would support. In fact, our experience with the Haines City EDC has driven us to connect with local EDCs in future target markets.”
We at Tucker Paving are looking forward to hearing more great things from the Haines City EDC and reading about more big-time economic development success stories in northeast Polk County. We’re also looking forward to the possibility of laying some pipes and building some roads in that area really soon. It could happen!