Lawmakers have approved an additional $2.8 million to help build a Florida State University health research center in Panama City.
The Joint Legislative Budget Commission approved the funds Friday through the Local Support Grants Program, a new state mechanism for lawmakers to secure federal dollars for local projects. The funding is a fraction of the $175 million paid out statewide under the program.
The project will benefit the planning phase for the FSU Health Academic Research Center, otherwise known as the FSU Health ARC.
“This new facility will create a transformational health sciences research environment in Panama City that will not only serve communities across northern Florida, but will also have a broader regional and national impact by developing novel therapies for important diseases, advancing technologies to maintain health and prevent illness, and educating health care providers for the future,” according to the funding request.
On top of the $2.8 million, the now $70.8 million project already has $33 million in state funding and $5 million in federal funding.
FSU Health ARC’s service area covers Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Walton and Washington counties in the Panhandle.
“FSU Health ARC will provide patients access to new drugs, devices, and clinical innovations developed by investigators through cutting-edge research and clinical trials,” according to the request.
While the request was filed by Okaloosa County Republican Rep. Patt Maney, the research center will reside in Panama City, home to the House’s chief budget negotiator, Republican Rep. Jay Trumbull.
More broadly, lawmakers granted Bay County $13.8 million through the local support program, including a $6 million request by Trumbull to restore the water quality in Lullwater Lake Basin.
Of the top 10 costliest projects, four went to Pinellas County, home of House Speaker Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican; two went to Pasco County, home of Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican; and three went to Trumbull’s home Bay County.