On Monday, September 11, 2023, the Town of Callahan and Board of County Commissioners held a ceremony in celebration of the Town's water and sewer expansion project to the Crawford Diamond area which upon completion, could pave the way for industrial development and thousands of high-wage jobs.
In the rail industry, a diamond intersection is where two rail lines intersect. Diamond intersections are rare on the eastern shore board and the only diamond intersection in the State of Florida is here in Nassau County, in the area historically known as Crawford Florida. This unique diamond intersection is what led to the industrial designation and non-residential use of the surrounding lands.
Over the past decades, there has been substantial investment into the Crawford Diamond area to develop the roadways and invest in alterative energy sources. The area has also been identified as a prime spot for economic development due to its close proximity to several major highways and the access to two major rail lines. However attracting businesses to the area has been slowed due to the need for water and sewer capacity. To resolve the issue, the Town of Callahan agreed to expand their existing water and sewer services to the Crawford Diamond area.
The Town took the initiative to seek funding sources and was successful in obtaining $11.4 million in grants from the Florida Department of Commerce, coupled with a $4.5 million investment from the Board of County Commissioners to make this project a reality. Today, we celebrated a major milestone toward reaching that needed capacity and truly activating the area as a job center for the County.
FPL's Director of External Affairs Jim Bush, stated, "I want to begin by congratulating the Town of Callahan and Nassau County for all the work you've done to make today a reality. It takes tremendous vision and commitment to make days like today possible. These infrastructure improvements are incredibly important, not just for economic development but for the entire community. Our economic development team plays a key role in building communities by promoting sites like the Crawford Diamond Industrial Park, and by sharing the advantages the region has to offer, we can attract companies and high-wage, high-skilled jobs. I'm excited to be here today to see the great progress made and I can't wait to welcome the first tenant at this industrial site."
The Town's Public Works Director Mike Williams spoke briefly and thanked the State Legislature and the County for helping the Town get to this point. He introduced the individuals/entities that are currently working on the project and provided a progress update. At the end of his speech, he added, "One small step for Callahan, one giant leap for Nassau County economic prosperity."
Executive Director for the Nassau County Economic Development, Sherri Mitchell, also spoke stating, "This long-awaited water plant is a critical piece of infrastructure needed so that when one of these industries with the ability to bring these high-wage jobs comes forth, we will be prepared."
Lastly, Aaron Bowman, Senior Vice President of Business Development for JaxUSA spoke, stating, "JaxUSA represents seven northeast counties of Florida and our job is to bring and expand companies here. Once a company makes a decision to come someplace, they're ready to get started and that's what's held this area back for so many years. We couldn't give them (the companies) a defined path of when the utilities could be here. That has changed and so, we've got a lot of companies in the que that are ready and are going to be interested in this property. Manufacturing brings great jobs and for every one manufacturing job, it makes about 3 total jobs."
Thank you to everyone who attended the event. We trust that you found it informative and left with a better understanding of how the Crawford Diamond area benefits Nassau County's economy.
If you were unable to attend but would like to see the presentations from the ceremony, please click here.
Note: the development around the Crawford Diamond includes the approximately 1,800 acre Crawford Diamond Industrial Park which currently has about 400 acres available for development and approximately 187 acres of property south of Crawford Road. For additional information about Crawford Diamond industrial development opportunities, please contact the Nassau County Economic Development Board at (904) 225-8878 or visit their website at www.nassauflorida.com.