Economic Yearbook 2007
TAMPA BAY: Fulfilling the Promise
Focusing on SRI International and a Merck venture.
POWER PLANT: The big news from Citrus County is about what the county didn't get in 2006: Another nuclear power plant. Rather, Progress Energy Florida chose a site in Levy County to locate its proposed facility, which officials say could start producing electricity within a decade. Brett Wattles, former executive director of Citrus County's Economic Development Council, is unfazed. He says the proposed site is just eight miles north of the county's existing Crystal River nuclear plant -- and he believes Citrus County will still see plenty of positives. "The impact of this will be phenomenal," Wattles says. "It's going to bring in several hundred more workers, and they're all going to need places to live and places to buy food, and some of those people are going to live in Citrus County."
CHALLENGE: The county's economy is strong, Wattles says. In fact, one of the area's biggest challenges is finding enough sites and commercial buildings to accommodate new employers, he says.
? ASFI, a Crystal River company that creates metal-framed, tension-fabric structures, will design a domed soccer stadium this year in Russia. The company has created numerous other major structures, including a 250-foot-wide hangar for the space shuttle in Cape Canaveral, part of the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York and the Ford Amphitheater in Tampa. Another recent project required ASFI to create an enclosed 70-foot-tall building for a Washington state company. The trick was the building had to be portable. "Our niche is to provide generally unique, functional and cost-effective solutions to an owner, a general contractor or an architect's needs," says Tom Leahy, the company's vice president of finance and administration. "We don't do repetitive buildings."