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Clay's Phenomenal Quality of Life Continues to Attract Larger Share of Floridians

Clay's Phenomenal Quality of Life Continues to Attract Larger Share of Floridians

Clay County had a population of almost 191,000 in 2010, but grew by 6.86 percent by 2015, reaching nearly 204,000 residents. To put it in perspective, the average Florida county grew by 4.6 percent between 2010 and 2015.  Though Clay’s growth rate is slightly lower than St. Johns, it is still 49% higher than the average Florida county’s growth rate. 

Click here to view News4Jax - 'Growth Surge in St. Johns County Affects Everyone'   - This piece provides an excellent overview of the current growth in St. Johns/NEFL, and what is facing Clay County. As the First Coast Expressway begins construction in 2019, residential growth will likely increase and put even more pressure on Clay’s local road network.

Ways to pay the price tag for improving traffic

As expected, traffic has been impacted by residential and business growth and highway improvements and additions are underway. One example is State Route 9B -- connecting I-95 to I-295. Another example is in St. Augustine. Commissioners have invested more than a million dollars so far to improve Woodlawn Road.

"Residential growth, in particular, brings an elevated level of demand on our infrastructure, our roads, our fire rescue department or Parks and Recreation, and so in St. Johns County, we continually struggle with the revenue question, and we will continue to do that for the next couple of years," explained Ryan.

Right now, it takes between $12 million and $14 million each year for road maintenance. To expand roads, the price tag adds $7 to $8 million every year for 10 years. That's $77 million for new and better roads.

St. Johns County commissioners are exploring a number of ways to pay for road improvements, which would impact those living in the county and anyone traveling through. Three of those options include:

·         1 percent additional bed tax on tourists, which generates $1.5 million

·         1 percent sales tax on residents and tourists, which would bring in $23.5 million

·         A 5-cent per gallon gas tax, which would bring in a projected $5.8 million

"It's a challenging time right now," said Dick Williams, a member of St. Johns County's Planning and Zoning agency. "Growth is a double-edged sword. It brings more jobs, more opportunities ... The schools are attractive to people who want to move here ... but growth brings with it development and infrastructure challenges."


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The Clay Florida Economic Development Corporation provides concierge service for companies who want to re-invest in expansion in the county or relocate their companies to the region.

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