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February 10, 2016


Southwest Florida

Rod Thomson | 4/9/2013

Hendry/Glades Counties

» Airglades Airport is on the cutting edge of a federal program that may reap huge economic rewards for the county: Privatizating the ownership of public airport land to spur development. “This is a life-changer for Hendry County,” says Gregg Gillman, executive director of economic development for Hendry. The federal government has tapped only a handful of publicly owned airports in the nation to participate in the privatization program, which includes a consortium of local and national investors who are initially managing the developments on 2,400 acres surrounding the small airport. A deal to bring an aviation-related manufacturer to the airport that would create 180 jobs is in progress, helping diversify the heavily agricultural county.

Hendry Population: 39,710
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.45%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
23.62% 7.12% 28.72% 28.38% 12.16%
Per Capita Income: $30,618

Glades Population: 13,262
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.81%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
16.36% 5.07% 25.34% 32.77% 20.46%
Per Capita Income: $24,489

DeSoto/Highland/Hardee Counties

» Hardee County is seeing one of the biggest economic developments in its history as BioNitrogen embarks on a 600-acre project to build a fertilizer plant that will employ about 50 and result in cheaper fertilizer for area farmers. BioNitrogen uses a proprietary technology to build plants that convert biomass into fertilizer. Hardee County will build a railroad spur to the 40-acre plant the company is planning, giving direct access to Tampa Bay ports about 70 miles away. “It creates jobs, but it also creates a great product that can be utilized right here,” says Hardee County Manager Lex Albritton.

» Atlanticblue in Lake Wales is planning to sell the Blue Head Ranch — roughly 100 square miles of cattle and crops that straddles Highlands and DeSoto counties. The Highland County Commission approved plans to develop a city on the Blue Head property with up to 30,000 housing units on 7,500 of the acres, plus 10 million square feet of retail, office and industrial space. Also, the planned Heartland Parkway from Lakeland to Fort Myers would bisect the property.

DeSoto Population: 35,730
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.81%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
18.94% 6.03% 26.71% 29.32% 18.99%
Per Capita Income: $25,189

Hardee Population: 28,402
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 0.66%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
23.25% 7.14% 28.00% 28.27% 13.35%
Per Capita Income: $27,080

Highlands Population: 105,329
Population Growth Rate (2009-13): 1.58%
Population by Age:
0-14 15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
15.31% 4.93% 18.02% 28.79% 32.94%
Per Capita Income: $31,322

Tags: Southwest, Economic Yearbook

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