LAKELAND, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday announced nearly $150 million in award to local communities for more resilient infrastructure, including $42.9 million to the City of Lakeland.
The money in Lakeland is to "establish a multi-component project in partnership with Bonnet Springs Park, which focuses on increasing flood storage capacity to the drainage basin by improving the stormwater infrastructure and watershed quality," according to a press release.
The awards are part of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Program. It allows governments to develop large-scale infrastructure projects to make communities more resilient to future disasters, according to a release.
"Our goal is to not only make sure that we are rebuilding from past storms but really looking ahead to that storm," said Dane Eagle, the Executive Director of the DEO. "We all know as Floridians it’s gonna happen again. So we’ve got to be more resilient."
DeSantis made the announcement from Lakeland on Friday.
“My administration remains committed to providing the resources necessary for Florida communities to build back stronger and be more resilient to future storms,” said Governor DeSantis. “This transformational mitigation funding will go a long way in helping Florida’s communities invest in their futures through critical infrastructure improvements.”
Bonnet Springs Park is a privately-funded 160+ acre urban park being built west of downtown Lakeland.
“This Lake Bonnet project is a perfect example of government working well,” Representative Scott Franklin said. “It is a model for what success looks like in a public, private partnership that will help a needed community, clean up a lake ecosystem and provide a new park that the entire Lakeland community can enjoy. It is a shining example of government and the private sector at all levels, working together on behalf of our community. I applaud Governor DeSantis for his support of this project and thank everyone at every level who has supported the vision for this project and contributed to this momentous occasion.”
DeSantis said money will also be awarded to the following locations in the Tampa Bay area.
- City of Arcadia ($4,823,579) – to widen a stormwater tributary to provide additional storage during storm events to better control flood volume.
- City of Avon Park ($670,623) – to improve the existing potable water system through replacement of asbestos pipes with PVC piping, adding additional bore to improve water pressure, and to install an upgraded chlorine system.
- City of Sebring ($2,605,428) – to complete fire protection resiliency, water quality, and water conservation infrastructure improvements.
- City of Sebring ($3,515,580) – to harden facilities that are part of the cities sanitary sewer collection system.
- DeSoto County ($3,757,012) – to replace decaying drainage system infrastructure to significantly increase service life and reduce the possibility of flooding.
- DeSoto County ($3,273,575) – to repair a bridge used as an evacuation route during storms.