Ron DeSantis Announces $126 Million to Help Panhandle Recover on Fourth Anniversary of Hurricane Michael

While Florida is recovering from Hurricane Ian, it is also marking the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Michael devastating parts of the Panhandle and the Big Bend.

On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced more than $126 million for communities recovering from Hurricane Michael through the state Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida Program.

“Today’s $126 million awarded to 24 Hurricane Michael-impacted communities is an example of our lasting commitment to helping Florida communities rebuild following a storm,” said DeSantis. “Four years later, Northwest Florida has made remarkable progress but it has been a difficult journey with more work ahead.”

“The governor’s announcement today of more than $126 million to Northwest Florida communities on the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael reaffirms his commitment to disaster-impacted communities across the state and sends a strong message to those impacted by Hurricane Ian that this administration will continue to have your back long after the cameras are gone,” said DEO Sec. Dane Eagle. “DEO specializes in the long-term recovery of disaster-impacted communities. We echo the Governor’s call to action for the U.S. Congress to expedite funding. If they act quickly, we hope to begin making awards in communities impacted by Hurricane Ian by the one-year anniversary of the storm.”

“This funding is in addition to more than $217 million that has been obligated through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program made by the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) to improve the long-term resiliency of Northwest Florida,” the governor’s office noted.

“As we begin the recovery process for Hurricane Ian in Southwest and Central Florida, my thoughts are with our Panhandle residents as they look back at the impacts they suffered from Hurricane Michael,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “Floridians are no strangers to hurricanes, and I am proud of the work the division does to support our communities in becoming more resilient in the face of future storms.”

The funds include $84 million though the Rebuild Florida General Infrastructure Repair Program for the following 16 projects which the governor’s office listed out:

Bay County ($9,181,311) – to build a complex housing a Community Recreational Center, Sheriff’s Sub-station, as well as an office and kitchen space. The facility will be utilized partially as a hardened shelter for residents and first responders during grey sky days, as well as a community center during blue sky days.

City of Callaway ($5,500,200) – to replace a heavily damaged system with a new sewer collection system and new potable water system with fire flow.

City of Carrabelle ($799,065) – to rehabilitate and repair 3,330 linear feet of sewer lines and other elements of the city’s sanitary sewer system.

City of Carrabelle ($1,444,315) – to rehabilitate and repair 5,700 linear feet of sewer lines and other elements of the city’s sanitary sewer system.

City of Cottondale ($1,499,228) – to rehabilitate and repair more than 3,500 linear feet of sewer lines and other elements of the sanitary sewer collection system. Additionally, to replace more than 6,000 square yards of paving, and rehabilitating a sanitary sewer lift station.

City of Cottondale ($895,414) – to replace more than 2,000 linear feet of sanitary sewer and other elements of the Sanitary Sewer Collection System. Additionally, replacing 3,700 square yards of paving, and rehabilitating a sanitary sewer lift station.

City of Graceville ($1,154,728) – to harden the city’s potable water system by installing emergency electrical generators and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) communications to the entire potable water system.

City of Graceville ($4,441,751) – to improve the stormwater drainage for the city’s sanitary system by lining or replacing 100 sanitary sewer manholes and repairing or sealing 200 sanitary sewer service laterals.

City of Gretna ($1,208,927) – to construct a new 350,000-gallon ground storage tank and high service pumps to pressurize the system.

City of Panama City ($24,867,120) – to retrofit more than 50 damaged lift-stations from the current warning siren notification system to an advanced warning telemetry system.

City of Panama City ($11,888,559) – to replace more than three miles of damaged sanitary sewer, stormwater, and water lines.

City of Panama City ($12,738,605) – to replace more than four miles of damaged sanitary sewer, stormwater, and water lines.

City of Panama City ($508,083) – to replace nearly eight miles of damaged sanitary sewer, stormwater, and water lines, supplementing the previous award of $20,489,644.00.

City of Wewahitchka ($5,500,000) – to repair and replace portions of the storm sewer system.

Liberty County ($1,820,250) – to construct a new hardened emergency medical services facility.

Town of Greenwood ($983,942) – to harden the town’s potable water system.

DeSantis and DEO also announced that the following 18 projects, which the governor’s office offered information on, will get $42 million through the Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Program:

City of Altha ($1,856,884) – to acquire property and construct a new, resilient community center.

City of Blountstown ($603,527) – to repair pipes in the Lake Hilda Dam.

City of Blountstown ($841,167) – to enhance utility capabilities to support a new facility for Calhoun-Liberty Hospital.

City of Bristol ($641,063) – to install a new deep-water production well and chlorination system and upgrade the city’s SCADA system.

City of Chipley ($2,936,950) – to improve drainage capabilities to mitigate flood damage.

City of Cottondale ($1,894,766) – to install a new well at the city’s recreation park.

City of Cottondale ($1,392,350) – to build a new hardened space for the police department, connected to the fire department.

City of Greensboro ($1,076,665) – to upgrade the municipal water infrastructure, including water mains and water meters.

City of Gretna ($1,630,773) – to construct a new public works building, connected to the fire department building, which will increase the number of bays and equipment storage area.

City of Marianna ($5,207,000) – to construct a resiliency hub to serve as a shelter, point of distribution, and recovery operations center.

City of Marianna ($3,731,600) – to improve utility resilience in future severe weather events, and construct a resilient access corridor to Jackson Hospital, the only regional medical facility.

City of Vernon ($2,265,691) – to harden and improve the resiliency of the sanitary sewer system’s wastewater treatment plant and effluent disposal facilities, as well as the city’s entire sanitary sewer collection system.

Gulf County ($2,624,668) – to pave and resurface roadways and improve stormwater and drainage infrastructure.

Gulf County ($4,725,000) – to replace and elevate the South Diana Street Bridge.

Jackson County ($4,795,365) – to support construction of a safe room inside Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and upgrades to vital emergency communications equipment.

Town of Grand Ridge ($3,265,000) – to construct a resiliency hub to provide a structure for emergency services in the event of future disasters.

Town of Malone ($1,700,000) – to construct a public works critical protection facility.

Town of Wausau ($1,044,928) – to improve stormwater drainage and pave two severely damaged roads.
The governor’s office also noted on Monday that “more than $217 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding has been obligated and reserved for Phase II of approved projects. 154 projects have been approved and are in progress.” These include:

$8.8 million to improve the stormwater system of the City of Mexico Beach, which will provide flood protection to more than 130 homes in the back-canal area, as well as the marina and boat ramp.

$3.6 million to construct a hurricane safe room near the Panama City Police Department for more than 200 first responders during and after a storm. This includes a permanent generator and will ensure that responders can safely continue operations during and immediately after a storm.

$2.6 million to protect 46 lift stations in Bay County by installing permanent bypass pumps at each lift station. This will allow the sanitary sewer system to continue circulation and prevent being overwhelmed by increased volume from floodwaters.

Kevin Derby
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