FEMA Approves Funding for 1,624 Small Permanent Projects in Puerto Rico
These projects are part of an investment of $820 million in permanent work for the island
GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico – Over the course of 2020, FEMA and Puerto Rico’s Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency, or COR3, approved funding for 1,624 small permanent work projects that will help rebuild communities affected by Hurricane María. The repairs represented under this particular group of projects total $65 million in grants, which will have a direct economic impact on the island. A record 2,374 permanent work projects have been approved in the first seven months of the year.
In an effort to expedite project awards and move recovery forward, FEMA and COR3 prioritized sites whose repair estimates were $123,100 or less. This initiative proved to be successful for municipalities across the island – 93 percent of the small permanent work projects obligated are to address damage to roads, community recreational areas, sports centers and other key municipal areas.
“Small projects, along with large infrastructure sites, make up a central aspect of the island’s recovery. We are committed to supporting the Government of Puerto Rico and COR3 in helping repair smaller sites that are the essence of Puerto Rican communities,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Alex Amparo.
For his part, the mayor of Quebradillas, Heriberto Vélez Vélez, mentioned the importance of a $75,000 grant to repave and reinforce the bridge and Street #18 of the San José neighborhood, which provides access to 10 families. “This project complements other projects such as the panoramic street and Puerto Hermina, so its impact amounts to approximately 5,000 families. This bridge is also used for tourism purposes, so we have definitely begun to make the necessary repairs to certain areas that were severely affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said the mayor.
Similarly, the municipality of Cataño benefited from this strategic work plan with an award of over $44,000 to repair its town square. This space lends itself to a number of cultural activities, as well as a meeting place for residents who visit to play dominoes.
“We have a beautiful seafront and rebuilding the town square will have immense benefits as it adds to our tourist attractions — one of our municipality’s strengths. Therefore, it is very important to repair it and make it available to the public in the best possible conditions,” said the mayor of Cataño, Felix “El Cano” Delgado Montalvo.
In addition, some 380 residents of the Algarrobo neighborhood in Aibonito will benefit from improvements to their basketball court and baseball park with the help of over $93,000 in federal funds. The repairs include the replacement of fences and lighting in the area, which will provide more safety for the enjoyment of residents of all ages.
“Small reconstruction projects are what have a direct and more immediate impact on the communities in the municipalities. Due to the initiatives of COR3 and FEMA to advance these projects, the obligations of this group have increased in the past months and are equally important as the larger projects. We will continue working to maintain the steady pace of the recovery that Puerto Rico needs,” said COR3 Director, Ottmar Chávez.
FEMA continues working alongside the Government of Puerto Rico and COR3 to strategize the island’s recovery projects. To date, nearly $7.2 billion has been approved for Puerto Rico under FEMA’s Public Assistance program.