The Freight and Logistics Zone (FLZ) project has been made possible through a Community Planning Technical Assistance Grant from the FL Dept. of Economic Opportunity (FDEO) to Gulf County . The scope of work involves the development of an FLZ Plan for Gulf, Franklin, Liberty, and Gadsden Counties. The goal is to become designated as a regional Freight Logistics Zone. The FLZ designation will allow for potential funding priority for the projects within its boundaries and it is the ultimate intent that the designation will increase the use of the Port of Port St. Joe and revitalize the AN Railway line that connects Port St. Joe and Chattahoochee through Gulf, Franklin, Liberty, and Gadsden Counties. The Freight and Logistics Zone will allow for connectivity from seaports, airports, rail and highway systems to help increase the flow of freight and increase economic development in the Region.
The ARPC has contracted with Gulf County to oversee the completion of the Freight and Logistics Zone project. ARPC staff coordinated 2 Summits in Liberty County at the the Veterans Memorial Civic Center in Bristol. The first Summit on October 12th, and saw a turnout of more than 40 people, interested parties and stakeholders at the 2-hour event. This Summit was the first step in completing the FLZ project goals. It also completed the requirements of Deliverable #1 for the FDEO grant. Deliverable #2, which is a strategic sites inventory was completed by Leotta Location and Design, LLC. in mid-December. With this information complete, ARPC staff, along with the help of Marina Pennington, planning consultant, were able to complete the first draft of the FLZ Strategic Plan to satisfy the requirements of Deliverable #3. With this draft in hand the second summit was conducted in late April, again with a strong turnout of interested parties and stakeholders. Attendees provided comments and recommendations about the draft plan to the Staff, as well as providing valuable local knowledge for strategic infrastructure improvement projects that needed to be added into the plan, to help attain a fully functional and connected freight network. As part of Deliverable #4, staff made the necessary updates to the Final Strategic Plan for submission. The last part of the project (Deliverable #5) was to have a Public Hearing in each of the four counties and to present the Final Strategic Plan to each of the four counties, Board of County Commission for consideration to adopt the Final, Gulf to Gadsden – Freight Logistic Zone Strategic Plan. In early June the 4th and final Public Hearing was completed and all four County Commissions adopted the plan!