Northeast Florida Business Briefs - Aug. 2006
CLAY COUNTY - The Clay County Commission is planning to build a service center for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in Green Cove Springs.
JACKSONVILLE - Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire plans to build a $44-million, 1-million-sq.-ft. distribution center at Cecil Commerce Center later this year. The former military base's first resident company will employ about 250. The Bridgestone announcement came about the same time as rumblings that the Pentagon was still interested in returning a master jet base to the Commerce Center, formally known as Cecil Field. Mayor John Peyton quickly squashed the talk, saying the city had already decided a jet base was no longer suitable for that area.
? The University of North Florida and Florida Community College at Jacksonville fared well in the state's education budget. UNF will receive about $130 million in operational funding, a 20% increase from last year. FCCJ will receive $85 million, a 6% jump.
? The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office would receive an additional $24 million in Mayor John Peyton's proposed budget, an almost 9% increase from last year.
? In the wake of media attention aimed at the city's murder rate, the state's highest for six years, Sheriff John Rutherford pointed out that the number of violent crimes had dropped about 50% since 1991. The sheriff has launched Operation Safe Streets, targeting illegal guns and violent criminals.
? The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed a 10-year contract with Ovations Food Services to handle food and beverage concessions at Alltel Stadium. The deal is worth an estimated $8 million to $10 million a year.
? Unison Industries will build three types of speed and temperature sensors for the Army. The sensors will be used in fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
LAKE CITY - O'Connor Signature plans to develop O'Connor Signature at The Oaks, the company's first equestrian community, in Lake City in early 2007. The Oaks includes 240 one- to fiveacre lots, competition quality riding arenas and a 24-plus stall barn spread over 1,222 acres. O'Connor Signature is owned by Olympic equestrian champions Karen and David O'Connor.
NASSAU COUNTY - Nassau County will receive $6.5 million from the Energy and Water Appropriations Act to help it renourish local beaches. The project will restore about 3.9 miles of shoreline and maintain 4.4 miles of eroding shoreline.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH - Palmer Course Design is moving to the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando. Arnold Palmer, who started the golf course design company in 1971 in Ponte Vedra Beach, plans to take a more active role in the company, which will change its name to the Arnold Palmer Course Design Co. The new company will cut its active projects from 20 to between six and 10. President Ed Seay will step down because of health reasons but will remain as a consultant.