Governor Ron DeSantis on Feb. 11 announced more than $91 million in funding to Panhandle communities, including an $8.5 million grant for wastewater improvements in Wewahitchka.
The funds, which will support improvement projects for wastewater and sanitary sewer, potable water and stormwater systems, are granted through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Program.
Rebuild Florida is administered by DEO and uses federal funding to allow local governments to develop large-scale infrastructure projects that aid communities in improving their preparedness for future disasters.
“I’ve said from the beginning that recovery from Hurricane Michael would be a long-term process,” said DeSantis before a gathered crowd in Marianna on Friday. “Michael has forever left a mark on Panhandle communities, but through the funding provided, we can ensure these communities are stronger and better equipped for the future.”
The announcement came days after the governor’s office awarded a $642,452 grant to Gulf County to create a safe room for first responders at the Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative, also in Wewahitchka. Money for the project will be granted through the Rebuild Florida Hazard Mitigation Grant Match program.
The program funds the local community’s match portion of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program awards to support recovery efforts in communities impacted by Hurricane Michael.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management administers the state’s FEMA HMGP awards, which requires a local match of 25 percent. DEO administers the local match portion of the HMGP through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery rogram allocated to the state through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development .
“Every day, progress is being made toward the long-term recovery of those impacted by Hurricane Michael,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “These grants will allow communities with remaining needs to make important upgrades and improvements to critical infrastructure and to mitigate future storm damage.”