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Gulf Power helping to bring new businesses to the area
NORTHWEST FLORIDA -- If you have land cleared and ready for development new businesses will come.
That's the idea behind Gulf Power's "Site Certification Program".
Starting April 9th, counties and cities in Northwest Florida will be able to submit land to be cleared for future development.
The permitting process would then get underway and some utilities would be installed
Gulf Power is willing to pay 50 % of the cost,
"Gulf Power hopes the new site certification plan will help build more industrial parks like this one and help Northwest Florida become more appealing to corporations."
Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia already offer a similar program and Gulf Power believes it gives them a competitive edge.
John Hutchinson "We're only as healthy as a company as our communities are and if we can help economic development that helps all the businesses in the community including Gulf Power Company."
The company will pay 50 % of the cost the rest of the bill will lie with the local government.
Sharon Goshorn "Anything we can do to get more businesses here and if the large corporations are willing to go out of there way to do it I'm all for it."
Bonnie Harwood "They definitely have the money to back it up, so put some of that money to good use."
For sites to qualify they have to be large enough to accommodate industries and manufacturing businesses.
"More manufacturing more jobs for middle class people those types of things anything that can help out the middle class."
Melissa Beal "There is a lot of guys out of business that I know and lost their jobs because of the economy, so that would be great."
John Hutchinson with Gulf Power says they hope to target clean industries.
"With Airbus coming to town in Mobile we need certified sites over here for their suppliers to locate, so good clean industrial type businesses."
So what does this mean for customers and rates?
"In fact the more electricity we sell the more we can spread our fixed cost out which actually keeps our rates low."
"Northwest Florida cities and counties can start submitting their plans on April 9th."
Gulf Power is closing one of their plants in Northwest Florida.
The Scholz Plant just east of Marianna will close by 2015.
According to the company, tighter regulations by the environmental protection agency are forcing the closure.
At the end of that time plant employees who choose not to retire will be transferred to other jobs within the company.
The plant has has been operating since 1953.