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DeSantis awards $487M to hurricane-impacted Florida communities

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(The Center Square) — Gov. Ron DeSantis announced this week that $487 million in state funds has been awarded to Florida communities impacted by recent hurricanes.

These grants are intended to help communities with infrastructure projects, rebuilding homes and providing better protection from storm surge flooding.

DeSantis announced Thursday that $300 million in state funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will be allocated to 71 new resilience and adaptation projects to protect coastal and inland communities.

“The Framework for Freedom budget is a testament to our unwavering commitment to protect Florida’s communities and secure their economic vitality,” DeSantis said in his news release. “Florida is a storm-prone state, and following two back-to-back hurricanes last year, this funding advances Florida’s continuing efforts to strengthen our infrastructure and fortify against the impacts of storm surge and flooding.”

On Wednesday, DeSantis awarded $187 million through the Florida Department of Commerce’s Rebuild Florida Program to the City of Pensacola, Escambia County — which will receive most of the funding — and other parts of Northwest Florida.

Escambia County has been awarded over $70 million, with $53 million earmarked for regional storm water drainage improvements and a new state-of-the-art Escambia County Transit Center.

Another $5 million will be for solar-powered lighting in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods, 80 new bus shelters and the refurbishment of 32 others. A further $9 million will be used to rebuild, replace, or repair homes damaged during Hurricane Sally.

The City of Pensacola has $55 million earmarked in funding for several infrastructure and revitalization projects. This includes repairs to infrastructure at the Port of Pensacola, a storm water project at Hollice T. Williams Park, and repairs and improvements for the Fricker Resource Center.

Another $10 million was awarded to complete a refurbishment project at the Baptist Hospital Campus, and $5.8 million has been awarded for housing repair and rebuild.

The town of Century will receive $12.8 million for infrastructure projects, including demolishing the old storm-damaged Century High School gym and building a new multi-function facility. The town of Jay has been awarded $5.4 million to build a community disaster response facility.

Panama City was awarded almost $1 million to facilitate the construction of a boardwalk, which aims to bring more business back to the area and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

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