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Kathy Castor Announces Support for 15 Community Priority Grants

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This week, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., announced her support for 15 community projects for consideration by the House Appropriations Committee for FY24 appropriations funding.

“I am committed to lowering costs and boosting opportunities to grow jobs as we clean up Tampa Bay and tackle housing affordability. From coastal resilience research at USF St. Petersburg to converting the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus fleet and many Tampa Police Department cruisers to cost-saving electric vehicles, we are building a safer, more resilient community. Students and local businesses will benefit from Hillsborough County Public School’s Medical Academy and Building Construction Academy which will train students in high demand fields. A computer lab refresh at Pinellas County Urban League will make life easier for individuals who are applying for jobs, paying their bills and doing their homework,” she said.

“Housing that is affordable remains a top concern across the Tampa Bay area, and the Sankofa redevelopment and Enoch Davis Center improvements will provide affordable housing, economic development and community resources in South St. Pete, while the new Robles Park Village Smart HUB will serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ of financial and economic services for residents. Stormwater drainage improvements and flood mitigation on both sides of the bay will not only help neighborhoods and homeowners, but improve the water quality of Tampa Bay through the Clean Water Revolving Fund,” Castor added. “While our district looks different this Congress, my commitment to ensuring that all corners and communities in our district are included in my submitted projects remains the same. From Tampa to St. Pete, Hillsborough to Pinellas, I am proud to advocate for the needs of all of my neighbors. Know that I’ll be hard at work championing these projects in the FY24 appropriations process.”

Projects Requested

Listed alphabetically by sponsor below, are the fifteen projects Castor has submitted for consideration to the House Appropriations Committee:

Enoch Davis Center Planning and Construction – City of St. Petersburg

This project would fund assessment, pre-construction, and energy-efficiency costs for improvements to the Enoch Davis Recreation Center, a multi-service community center in South St. Petersburg.

Requested amount: $1,500,000

Sankofa Affordable Housing Development – City of St. Petersburg

This project would support the Sankofa redevelopment and bring much-needed affordable housing in South St. Pete to an area that was decimated by the construction of I-275.

Requested amount: $4,000,000

Storm Drainage Improvement – City of St. Petersburg

The project will provide for drainage improvements that will alleviate flooding on 7th Street North between 50th Avenue North and 53rd Terrace North and also on 50th Avenue North between 4th Street North and 7th Street North to bolster the stormwater system capacity, alleviate flooding, and reduce risk to property damage.

Requested Amount: $5,000,000

“We are grateful for Congresswoman Castor’s inclusion of multiple St. Petersburg projects as they underscore her support of our Pillars for Progress focused on housing, infrastructure, education, and equitable development,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Kenneth T. Welch.

“As part of the Sankofa Affordable Housing Development, the City will be constructing 26 townhomes in the South St. Petersburg community and will be made available to those earning less than 120% AMI. The Storm Drainage Improvements Project will alleviate flooding in the area surrounding the Arcadia Gardens neighborhood while improving drainage capacity and existing stormwater systems. The Enoch Davis Rec Center Planning and Construction project will be the next step in transforming a facility into a modern center that serves the needs of a growing and changing neighborhood. Each of these projects will help deliver on the city’s commitment to inclusive progress and intentional equity, and we look forward to working with Congresswoman Castor and other federal partners to get them across the finish line.

“We’re also thrilled to receive Congresswoman Castor’s support for two PSTA projects in the St. Pete area that will improve efficiency along PSTA’s routes—we embrace their efforts to transition to clean transportation.”

Electric Vehicle Public Safety Fleet – City of Tampa

This project would update and electrify police cruisers in the Tampa Police Department and contribute to a safer community.

Requested funding: $1,875,000

“Even as Tampa’s population grows, law enforcement has become more efficient and effective at keeping our neighborhoods safe. Investments in COPS technology will help us direct resources where they are needed, improve community policing, and support our officers as they do their jobs,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Flood Mitigation / Stormwater Improvement – City of Tampa

This project would fund the Manhattan Avenue Flood Mitigation/Stormwater Project to capture stormwater runoff and pollution, and improve the water quality of Tampa Bay through Clean Water Revolving Fund.

Requested amount: $4,000,000

“Investments in our stormwater system are a critical part of making Tampa resilient for future generations. Flooding on Manhattan Avenue during and following heavy rain has impacted both drivers and property owners for years. This funding will help provide needed flood-reduction improvements on and surrounding this busy corridor,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Town ‘N Country Rocky Creek septic-to-sewer Phase 2 – Hillsborough County

This project would fund the Town ‘N Country Rocky Creek septic-to-sewer Phase 2 (design and construction for Troydale Road portion) through Clean Water State Revolving Fund to improve the water quality of Tampa Bay.

Requested funding: $2,000,000

“Septic-to-sewer conversion projects have become a top priority initiative for Hillsborough County. The Town ‘N Country Phase 2 Septic-to-Sewer project helps to further Hillsborough County’s goals to improve both the health of its residents and the environmental conditions of the surrounding waterbodies. The funding for this project will aid in the removal of septic tanks from an environmentally sensitive location and assist residents with the transition to a central sewer system. Collectively, this will help to ensure that necessary safety and environmental regulations are met and that the project is financially viable for all involved,” said Lisa Rhea, Director, Hillsborough County Water Resources Department.

Veterans Resource Center – Hillsborough County

This project would provide for Phase 2 of the Hillsborough County Veterans Resource Center to expand and upgrade this “one-stop shop” that provides wrap-around services for veterans and their families.

Requested amount: $750,000

“On behalf of Hillsborough County and all Veterans in our community, we would like to thank Congresswoman Castor for her unending support of our veterans and their families. The Veterans Resource Center: Education and Cultural Center project will serve as an epicenter for education and the expansion of holistic veterans’ services that impact the daily lives of our veterans and their families. A state-of-the-art training and learning room will allow for community seminars concerning veterans’ benefits and an educational platform for our youth to learn about our military history. Congresswoman Castor’s support of this important project will significantly contribute to our responsibility as a community to pass on to the next generation our knowledge, appreciation and support of the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes,” said Frank Strom (USMC, Ret.), MBA, Director, Department of Consumer and Veterans Services for Hillsborough County.

Building Tampa’s Tomorrow: Workforce Development Initiative – Hillsborough County Public Schools

Funding for the capital costs, including solar roof installation, for the Medical Academy and Building Construction Academy, which will train students in the highest demand fields within Hillsborough County, creating a critical career pipeline and providing opportunities for underrepresented youth across high-skilled trade careers.

Requested amount: $3,807,137

“These additional resources will drive the work to accelerate our students into the 21st-century workforce. District and school leaders are creating robust, cutting-edge programs that will prepare students for an exciting career pathway here in the Tampa Bay area. Through the expansion of the Construction Academy at Bowers/Whitley and the Medical Academy at D.W. Waters, our students will gain a competitive edge in some of the most sought-after careers right after graduation and become the workforce for Tampa’s Tomorrow,” said Superintendent Addison Davis.

Electric Bus Charging Infrastructure – Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority

This project would fund electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support the conversion of the PSTA bus fleet to electric buses and replace the St. Petersburg Pier tram system with energy-efficient electric vehicles.

Requested amount: $2,500,000

“This federal funding is a crucial investment in a cleaner and more sustainable community, moving us toward our goal of a zero-emission bus fleet,” said Brad Miller, Chief Executive Officer for PSTA. “Not only will it improve the experience for our riders, but better air quality and fewer emissions will make Pinellas County an even more attractive place to live, work, and play. Additionally, this funding will also support electrifying the St Petersburg Pier tram fleet making our community even more sustainable.”

Technology and Infrastructure Improvements – Pinellas County Urban League, Inc.

This funding would provide for a computer refresh, updating infrastructure and technology at the Pinellas County Urban League to increase reliable access to computers and boost digital and economic opportunities in an underserved community.

Requested funding: $81,330

“We here at Pinellas County Urban League love our District 14 Representative Kathy Castor. We specifically love her focus of perseverance to drive down poverty by bringing in new high paying jobs. The computer upgrade will cut response times by 50% for utility bill payments and home weatherization processing. We will also digitize 3 manual processes that require paper approval. Moving to digital approvals will eliminate the cost of paper and stamps. Thank you, Representative Castor, for all you do for our community,” said Malcolm Flakes, Director, Resource Development and Special Projects.

Tampa Harbor General Reevaluation Report – Port Tampa Bay

This funding would help complete the Tampa Harbor General Reevaluation Report, enabling Port Tampa Bay to make navigation improvements in the harbor to improve safety, increase the port’s capacity, and enhance the local, regional, and state supply chain for a growing population.

Requested funding: $1,175,000

“Funds for the Harbor Improvement study will help determine the feasibility of deepening the navigation channels to and from the Port, giving us a competitive edge on other ports around the world to ensure maritime commerce continues to call on the Gulf Coast of Florida. We look forward to working with Congresswoman Castor and others on Capitol Hill as the appropriations process develops,” said Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay President & CEO.

Southbay Expansion – Port Tampa Bay

This funding would allow Port Tampa Bay to develop land near the major Port Redwing expansion area that will increase access to manufacturing capacity and sustain continued growth in global commerce, furthering economic development and jobs growth for west central Florida and the entire state.

Requested Amount: $6,000,000

“I want to thank Congresswoman Kathy Castor for her dedication and leadership in supporting Port Tampa Bay. The Southbay project will attract new customers to the Port, and expand rail service opportunities, thereby reducing the carbon footprint on the Gulf Coast of Florida and creating new jobs,” said Paul Anderson, Port Tampa Bay President & CEO.

Robles Park Smart HUB – Tampa Housing Authority

This project would construct a Smart HUB at the new Robles Park Village Redevelopment in Tampa Heights/Seminole Heights – an energy-efficient community center to connect residents – from infants to seniors – to financial and educational support services.

Requested amount: $4,000,000

“The Tampa Heights community is looking forward to the Smart HUB at Robles, which will bring much needed resources to this largely underserved neighborhood. The HUB will function as a one-stop shop, where over 20,000 residents in the area will be able to access counseling, child care, early childhood education, youth development, family support services, parenting education, senior assistance, financial empowerment training, and career development, among others,” explains Jerome Ryans, President at the Tampa Housing Authority. “Thanks to Congresswoman Kathy Castor championing public housing and environmentally responsible urban development, the Smart HUB is a step closer to Tampa. We are very appreciative of her leadership in support of our communities,” said Jerome Ryans, President at the Tampa Housing Authority.

“We are thankful for Congresswoman Kathy Castor’s support of this important project for Florida’s 14th district. The Smart HUB at Robles is an energy smart investment that brings community-based services within a resilient building,” says Leroy Moore, Chief Operating Officer at the Tampa Housing Authority. “The Smart HUB at Robles will feature an innovative, efficient building design to reduce energy consumption, paired with resiliency features such as solar/renewable energy to help provide a resource to the community during or after disasters. The state-of-the-art HUB, a Leed certified smart building, is equipped with roof top solar panels and battery systems to store and transfer energy,” said Leroy Moore, Chief Operating Officer at the Tampa Housing Authority.

“Our community is supportive of this development because the Smart HUB at Robles will play an important role in enabling more than 20,000 residents in the larger 33603 zip code area to better access vital resources in housing and basic needs, health and wellness, jobs and economic vitality, and education,” says Revan Iman, President of the Robles Park Tenant.

Coastal Resilience Data Visualization Center – USF St. Petersburg

This project would fund a Coastal Resilience Data Visualization Center at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Sciences in St. Petersburg for scientific planning purposes, simulations of coastal threats, and public outreach activities to protect the natural environment and improve coastal resilience.

Requested amount: $3,000,000

Disrupt Human Trafficking Data Project – USF St. Petersburg

This project would aggregate and analyze the data needed to inform the state of Florida’s anti-human trafficking efforts, aid law enforcement and provide information to stakeholders to disrupt human trafficking and effectively respond to survivors.

Requested amount: $1,750,000

“The University of South Florida is committed to solving real-world problems through high-impact research, and we have the expertise to help address our state’s most pressing needs,” said USF President Rhea Law. “Sustaining the environment for future generations is an important priority for our region and USF researchers can play a leading role in helping our communities prepare. Likewise, USF researchers are highly skilled in the use of data and emerging technologies to help address challenges such as human trafficking. We are incredibly grateful to Rep. Kathy Castor for requesting funding for these projects and for her ongoing support of USF.”

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