INDIANTOWN — Continuing its efforts to attract business and economic development, Indiantown late last week became the state's most recently designated enterprise zone.
The designation allows Indiantown to offer businesses opting to relocate into the town's 10-square-mile enterprise zone within the town's commercial core tax credits and other business incentives.
"It's not a silver bullet, but it levels the playing field," said Indiantown Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman David Powers.
The designation allows Indiantown to compete with similar development zones in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach and Okeechobee County in vying for new business and job creation.
"This is an extremely good thing for them. We've been working on this for several years now and it's really good for the businesses there," said Martin County Commissioner Patrick Hayes, whose district includes Indiantown.
In November, Martin County commissioners unanimously approved an enterprise zone development plan with the proviso that the county oversee economic development in the zone and that the Business Development Board be the administrative arm of the zone's 13-person development agency, which Powers also chairs.
The enterprise program, introduced by the state in 1982 and now totaling 61 zones throughout Florida, was created to enhance the social and economic well-being of the designated areas, according to Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development organization.
Indiantown joins 31 other rural areas in the state as an enterprise zone, and Powers said the designation's incentives are just another way to help Indiantown attract business — even in a tough economy.
"We have a significant amount of infrastructure in place," Powers said. "So for businesses looking to relocate and expand, we have that already."
Powers said there has been some interest from out-of-town businesses exploring new opportunities in the area, "but it's hard to gauge how much (interest) until the economy returns," Powers said.
Kate Parmelee, county intergovernmental relations and grant coordinator, said Martin County's state legislative delegation joined local business, civic and political leaders to initiate and back the plan through the approval process.
"This has really been a group effort over a period of years," Parmelee said.