Florida Construction News staff writer
Gov. Ron DeSantis last week announced $6.9 million for continuing Hurricane Ian recovery efforts in Southwest Florida. The Florida Disaster Fund has now awarded all $63.2 million.
“Just under a year after the storm, I am happy to be awarding these funds to continue helping Southwest Florida in the recovery process,” Desantis said. “The Florida Disaster Fund has helped to cut through red tape and get money quickly into the hands of those who need it most. We’ve worked hard to raise more money than ever before and to disburse those funds faster than with any other storm.”
Awards include $2.3 million for 17 long-term recovery groups in the counties hit hardest by Hurricane Ian and:
- $2 million will go to Lee County Working Waterfront repairs. The historic working waterfront on Matlacha experienced severe damage from the storm and the project will help ensure the fishing industry is maintained in the area while they continue to await approval of a Federal Fisheries Disaster Declaration.
- Another $500,000 will go to public boat ramp repairs. Hurricane Ian destroyed many of the public boat ramps in the area and the funds will expedite the use of these facilities rather than causing residents and visitors to be further delayed with the FEMA reimbursement process.
- The Pine Island Beacon of Hope Organization will receive $500,000 to continue helping local businesses and self-employed contractors purchase tools that were destroyed in the storm in addition to assisting seniors in navigating services to support their recovery and helping to rebuild the playground for the only preschool on Pine Island.
- $500,000 in funding will be awarded to help rebuild the Fort Myers Bayside Park. In August 2022, community members came together to build this community park and less than a month later, it was destroyed by Hurricane Ian. The funds will allow the community to rebuild this park which drives traffic to businesses in the area and gives the families of Fort Myers Beach a place to bring their children to play.