Thursday, as part of a unified local economic development effort, the St. Johns County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and its economic development partners hosted a business reception with Governor Rick Scott in an effort to capitalize on the influx of local, state, national and international business leaders attending THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach this week. Joining the IDA as hosts were the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council, St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners, St. Johns County Administration, St. Johns County Tourist Development Council, the City of St. Augustine, Enterprise Florida, and AT&T as a private sector partner.
“THE PLAYERS is one of the nation’s premier sporting and business development events. The tournament brings national and international attention to St. Johns County and has a tremendous economic impact to the region,” said Peter Apol, chair of the IDA board of directors. “THE PLAYERS offers a unique opportunity each year to reach out to corporate leaders and to highlight the benefits of doing business in St. Johns County.
“I was proud to help host Thursday night’s reception at THE PLAYERS Championship to highlight Florida’s recent economic success, and to tell businesses that they are welcome in the Sunshine State. Businesses across the globe are beginning to notice the steps we are taking in Florida to create an environment where private-sector businesses can create jobs and opportunities for Florida families. Over the last two years, Florida has created over 320,000 private-sector jobs and businesses continue to grow and create jobs in our state,” said Governor Rick Scott.
The PLAYERS Championship is an annual, PGA golf tournament, which draws over 160,000 people from around the world to St. Johns County. More than 350 businesses invest in corporate hospitality and sponsorship programs at the tournament.
“This business reception at THE PLAYERS provided the opportunity for members of our industrial development community to build relationships with industry leaders who may consider expanding or relocating to St. Johns County,” said Jim Browning, former chairman of the IDA and a key organizer of the event. “It is a perfect opportunity to reach out to the corporate leaders who are already in St. Johns County for the tournament.”
While St. Johns County is well-known as a tourism and recreation destination, it is also an attractive location for business. St. Johns County’s assets as a location for expanding and business relocation site include: a premier Northeast Florida location offering cost-effective access to state, national and international markets via highways, airports and waterways, a well-educated workforce, the #1 public school district in Florida, a growing local and state economy and an exceptional quality of life.
At the reception, the IDA and its co-hosts shared how St. Johns County is “Business Ready” and promoted www.stjohnscountybusinessready.com, a one-stop web resource for business information and assistance.
“THE PLAYERS provides an extraordinary backdrop for discussing why St. Johns County and the State of Florida offer the perfect climate for business,” said Kirk Wendland, president of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce, “We are extremely appreciative to Governor Scott for his leadership in promoting our local and state economic development efforts.”
The St. Johns County IDA offers industrial revenue bonds of $2 million and more for businesses to develop capital projects. Industrial revenue bonds are tax-exempt obligations issued by governmental bodies to facilitate the financing of qualified business projects. The debt service on the bonds is paid by the private organization benefiting from the funds. Over the past 30 years, the St. Johns County IDA has issued bonds totaling more than $500 million dollars. These bonds benefit St. Johns County because they do not create any risk or financial liability for the County while providing economic growth.
Through partnership and sponsorship efforts, the IDA announced that funding for the reception, held at the Stadium Village adjacent to the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse, did not include any taxpayer dollars.
About the St. Johns County Industrial Development Authority
The St. Johns County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) provides support for industrial, distribution and nonprofit organizations interested in establishing or expanding businesses in St. Johns County. The IDA operates on behalf of the County without receiving any funding from the County or from ad valorem taxes. The all-volunteer IDA board includes knowledgeable and influential members of the community who are committed to the long-term growth and health of St. Johns County. Learn more about the IDA at www.saintjohnscountyida.com.
About THE PLAYERS Championship
Held annually in May, THE PLAYERS Championship is one of the most anticipated tournaments on the PGA TOUR calendar, boasting not only the strongest field but also the biggest purse on the PGA TOUR. It is also considered a premier business networking event. This year, THE PLAYERS Championship will take place May 6-12, 2013. More information about THE PLAYERS is available at www.pgatour.com/theplayers.