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Jacksonville Aviation Authority earns Space Florida funds for Cecil Airport capital project (Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal) — The Jacksonville Aviation Authority will receive funding from Space Florida that will allow it to develop the eastern portion of its Cecil Airport and Spaceport property.

Late last month at its board meeting, Space Florida voted to provide JAA with $3 million to develop its Cecil Spaceport Phase 1 Utility Corridor. The authority will match those dollars from Space Florida as part of its $7 million contribution of what is expected to be a $20 million project.

JAA considers the east side of Cecil Airport and Spaceport an ideal property to develop facilities for aviation and aerospace. But first it must develop the roads that connect that portion of the spaceport to the western portion of the property as well as provide connectivity to 103rd Street.

The 8,600-foot paved access road would need to accommodate heavy traffic. Currently, it’s little more than dirt and gravel that has been in place since when Cecil was still owned by the U.S. Navy.

The roadway will be 24-feet wide and maintain a 50-foot right of way once curbing and gutters are added. The project will also provide water, sewer and electrical utilities to the eastern portion of Cecil Spaceport.

JAA has completed preliminary design work in the run-up to receiving the Space Florida funds. The access road is not expected to be complete until after the new Boeing maintenance facility opens on the eastern portion of Cecil Airport in 2023.

Last December, Lauren Scott, a JAA senior manager for aviation planning, told the board of directors that Cecil has as much as 407 acres that could be used for potential development. A majority of that acreage is on the eastern portion of the Cecil property.

During that discussion, a potential strategic development plan for Cecil Airport and Spaceport included sustaining and growing existing businesses at the airport; attracting new tenants and devising a long-range strategy that would develop Cecil as a global logistics hub.

With Boeing in the process of building a 370,000-square-foot maintenance repair facility on the eastern edge of Cecil Airport, it not only creates the first tenant on that side of the property, but it also provides leasing space on the western portion.

“Space Florida gave us some funding for a road to the space center, so everything is happening at once,” JAA CEO Mark VanLoh told the Business Journal. “… That road will be completely finished, and the utilities will all be relocated (underground).”