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Regional Task Force Looks At Ways To Build Back Stronger From Pandemic

Skyline view of the St. Johns River and Downtown Jax.
Bill Bortzfield

The Northeast Florida Economic Resilience Taskforce met Thursday to discuss how the region’s infrastructure could be strengthened.

The group’s goal is to connect county and city governments across the region in a joint effort to not only recover from the coronavirus pandemic, but build back stronger from it.

Established in November 2020 with $400,000 in CARES Act funding, the task force is a part of the seven-county, 26-municipality Northeast Florida Regional Council, a government agency.

Northeast Florida’s coronavirus recovery is expected to happen during a period of rapid change, due in large part to the region’s population growth. The population of St. John’s County, for instance, is expected to grow by nearly 40% in the next 12 years.

“That causes a lot of issues when you think about traffic, school, water use, energy use. But it’s also a tremendous opportunity for a more vibrant economy,” said meeting guest speaker Christopher Emmanuel, Director of Infrastructure and Governance Policy for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The meeting is part of the task force’s plan to release a coronavirus economic recovery action plan this spring.

The NEFRC is an independent government agency that serves seven counties and 26 municipalities throughout the region.

Sydney Boles can be reached at or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.

Sydney manages community engagement programs like WJCT News' Coronavirus Texting Service. Originally from the mountains of upstate New York, she relocated to Jacksonville from Kentucky, where she reported on Appalachia's coal industry.