Is Waterfronts Florida a grant program?
No. The Waterfronts Florida Partnership Program is a planning program, not a grant.
What is the Waterfronts Florida Program?
The Waterfronts Florida Program offers help to all coastal local governments in Florida to revitalize their working waterfronts by providing resources for planning. Additionally, the department works with communities through its Waterfronts Florida Partnership Program to receive intensive technical assistance, along with training and education, to help develop and implement community-designed vision plans for their waterfront area. Each plan is unique but will incorporate the four priority focus areas of the program:
- Environmental and Cultural Resource Protection
- Retention of Viable Traditional Waterfront Economies
- Hazard Mitigation
- Public Access to Working Waterfronts and Coastal Resources
How many communities are currently designated?
Since 1997, a total of 24 communities have received designation as Waterfronts Florida Partnership Communities. Most recently, in July 2009, two new communities were designated for the 2009-2011 cycle: the City of Fort Myers and the community of Millville in Panama City.
Who is eligible to be a Waterfronts Florida Partnership Community?
The applicant must be a municipal or county government, or a local nonprofit in participation with the local government, which is able to demonstrate a strong working relationship with local government staff and officials. Eligible communities are those that are required to prepare a coastal element as part of their local government comprehensive plan, subsection 163.3177(6)(g), Florida Statutes. The community must recognize the waterfront as a special place and be committed to developing policies that encourage the preservation of recreational and commercial working waterfronts (Section 163.3177(6)3(c), Florida Statutes). Additionally, communities must have the resources to designate a local Waterfronts Florida program manager and to support a Waterfronts Florida committee representing the stakeholders' interests of the waterfront area.
What are the benefits of a Waterfronts Florida Partnership designation?
By participating in the Waterfronts Florida Partnership Program, a waterfront community receives support to develop and implement a community-designed revitalization plan (vision plan) that promotes coastal resource conservation and economic development by focusing on the program's four priority areas. Community capacity is strengthened as a community realizes that it has the power to renew interest, effectively make changes, and redirect its course. As a part of the Waterfronts Florida process, the community visualizes and begins implementing a plan for the redevelopment and revitalization of its waterfront while at the same time helping to sustain the rich heritage of Florida's working waterfronts. During a community's designation process, the Partnership Program provides:
- Assistance in organizing the local Partnership and volunteers into highly functioning committees
- Assistance in creating successful partnerships with local government, citizens, businesses and civic groups
- Technical assistance related to visioning, comprehensive planning and land development regulations, waterfront revitalization, environmental protection and redevelopment
- Training and peer exchange opportunities for local program managers and committee members
- Assistance in locating funding and other resources for continued implementation of the community's revitalization plan
- Mentoring and networking opportunities from other Waterfronts Florida Partnership Communities that can offer assistance with their experience and expertise. Program staff and resources provide more general technical assistance and advocacy for Graduate Communities. To remain active, Graduate Communities will be called upon to share their experiences and expertise with other waterfront communities interested in the Partnership Program. In addition to the numerous benefits of being designated a Waterfronts Florida Partnership Community, active communities receive extra points and benefits with some state grant programs.
How do I get more information?
See the contact information on the Waterfronts Florida Program page.