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PUBLIC NOTICE OF APPLICATION TO THE REBUILD FLORIDA GENERAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM

Posted August 14th, 2020

PUBLIC NOTICE OF APPLICATION TO THE REBUILD FLORIDA GENERAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM

In April 2018, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that the State of Florida would receive $633,485,000 in funding to support long-term mitigation efforts following Hurricanes Hermine, Matthew, and Irma) through HUD’s newly created Community Development Block Grant-Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) Program. This funding is intended to address mitigation needs to ensure the State of Florida is more resilient to future natural disasters.  The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is the lead agency and responsible entity for administering the CDBG-MIT funds allocated to the State, and they launched the Rebuild Florida General Infrastructure Program to provide funding to units of local government, state agencies, non-profits, and non-governmental organizations to implement innovative, collaborative, multijurisdictional, and/or large-scale mitigation activities that reduce identified hazard risks for local communities such as flooding, severe storms, tropical cyclones, coastal erosion, and wildfires. This 100% grant funding (no local match required) is intended to fund regional investments including but not limited to upgrading of water, sewer, solid waste, communications, energy, transportation, health and medical, and other public infrastructure projects that will allow communities to better withstand emergency-related challenges.

The City of Winter Haven has been designated as eligible to apply for this funding.  In accordance with guidance supplied by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and HUD relevant to the impacts of COVID-19, the public input requirements for this program include the option to post information about proposed funding projects on a public website with the provision of a 14-day public comment period.  A copy of this post and any public comments received will be provided to the DEO as part of the funding application submitted.

The City is proposing the following project for grant funding by this program in the estimated amount of $35,000,000.00:  Acquisition of four priority properties located within the eastern portion of the Peace Creek watershed for purposes of flood mitigation and water resource enhancement and protection activities. The proposed Peace Creek Flood Mitigation Land Acquisition Project will result in the acquisition of three large parcels of land and one large easement. These tracts of land were ranked as high priorities considering their ability to store large volumes of flood waters from the Peace Creek, their location near proposed utility infrastructure projects, and their potential for recreational uses such as  future nature parks with walking trails, boardwalks and other features that would benefit the community. These parcels were also selected because they are located in different areas of the Peace Creek.  Two are in the upper most reaches of the watershed, one is in the middle portion of the watershed, and the other is lower and downstream in the watershed.   All can store floodwaters which would decrease flooding along the Peace Creek and all the way to Peace River and Charlotte Harbor.  These projects also provide multiple benefits in that they will also help recharge aquifers to help the region recover from long term aquifer depletion, restore low lake levels, and manage chronically reduced river flows.  The grant application will be complimentary to the City’s ongoing One Water Master Plan in that land will be required to store and treat floodwaters in order for watershed restoration to take place.

If you have any comments or questions about this project, please contact us via email at the address below by 31 August 2020.

Beth L. Evans, AICP

bevans@mywinterhaven.com