The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Puerto Rico Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3, announced the obligation of more than $91.4 million in additional funds for 135 projects related to the recovery and reconstruction of Puerto Rico after Hurricane María.
These grants were assigned during the week of Sept. 11-17, the government agencies confirmed.
Among the most recent allocations is about $461,000 for repairs to the historic Punta Mulas Lighthouse built in 1895 and its community center, located on the north coast of Vieques. Formerly the house of a French bullfighter, this cultural landmark served as the municipality’s first museum in the 1990s. Today, it is a tourist attraction where visitors can catch the views of the island of Puerto Rico.
“Within our urban area, [the lighthouse] is one of the top three places most visited by tourists. The Punta Mula community center was the main community center for all Vieques residents. For us as a municipality, it’s an additional source of income, since both the center and the surrounding green areas are rented out,” said Vieques Mayor Víctor Emeric-Catarineau.
Meanwhile, more than $678,000 was approved for the municipality of Coamo to repave several roads in the Barrio Santa Catalina. These five streets allow around 125 families to reach their homes.
“The Municipality of Coamo will be working with the auction and contracting to expedite it as much as possible. These projects come to solve access and road safety problems for the residents of the mentioned areas,” said Coamo Mayor Juan Carlos “Tato” García-Padilla.
On the other hand, a little more than $218,000 was obligated for the municipality of Hormigueros to repair five recreational facilities. Among these is the municipal greenhouse where more than 2,000 pounds of green peppers are grown each month and sold to local businesses, which also generates five direct jobs.
In addition, the Mirador Torre Vista a la Bahía located in the Hoya Grande Sector, with a view to the bay of Mayagüez, is also part of this list. Likewise, the Paseo de la Abolición, the municipality’s passive playground and the municipal pools and gazebos, which have a capacity for 50 people, will be repaired.
All of the projects are important for the municipality’s development and the assignments speed up the reconstruction process, Hormigueros Mayor Pedro Juan García said.
“I’m very happy that the agricultural greenhouse has received an obligation since it’s a novel project where we demonstrate that it’s possible to export and consume by producing locally,” García said.
A part of these funds will be used to prevent future damage as mitigation measures. In Coamo, about $55,000 will be used to install an asphalt reinforcement system on all impacted roads.
In Vieques, about $17,000 will be used to upgrade the Punta Mulas Lighthouse with metal exterior panels and the replacement of 1,800 square feet of asphalt roofing and for the community center to provide an anchorage system to resist wind pressure, among other measures. Meanwhile, in Hormigueros, roofing at Mirador Torre Vista a la Bahía will be reinforced.