Type to search

Featured Government

FEMA allocates $4M to William Miranda Botanical Garden in Caguas

The repairs will include replanting trees, plants and protecting wildlife.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has allocated approximately $4 million to the William Miranda Marín Botanical Garden in Caguas for the recovery and strengthening of the facility due to damage caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

These funds will support the restoration of infrastructure and provide tools for risk mitigation in this important natural and cultural resource, the agency stated.

“This allocation will restore an invaluable natural resource, strengthen the fabric of the community and protect an important habitat where even pre-Columbian archaeological sites are preserved. Projects like these go beyond minimal repair and reaffirm our commitment to current and future generations,” said José G. Baquero, the agency’s disaster recovery coordinator for Puerto Rico.

The Botanical Garden is situated on the grounds of the former San José sugar mill, an important agricultural site founded by the Spanish in the Turabo Valley between the 19th and mid-20th centuries.

Gil Calderón, executive director of the Botanical Garden, said, “This is the only place in Puerto Rico where evidence of the combination of the three main ethnic groups that make up the Creole (European, African and Taíno) has been found.”

For this reason, the site is divided into four main zones representing each of these ethnicities and one dedicated to the Creole, where one can find flora and fauna representative of these peoples and cultures.

“Our vision is to be a world-class ethnobotanical garden, a leader in tourism, culture, nature, and agritourism attractions in Puerto Rico. To be the best alternative for sustainable tourism in the Caribbean,” Calderón said.

“On the other hand, our mission is to be internationally recognized as a premier center in terms of research, education and interpretation of natural, cultural resources and sustainability strategies,” he added.

Part of the work already completed with FEMA funds includes the repair and replacement of various elements, from lamps and posts to security and communication systems that operate through monitors to provide information to visitors. Likewise, water pipes, lighting systems and roof panels were replaced.

Other repairs will be carried out in the administrative offices, concession stands, the butterfly house, the Casa Jíbara, the visitor center and recreational areas. Funds will also be allocated to repair bridges and the artificial lake and for improvements to the security area in the garden.

The garden offers a variety of educational and cultural activities, such as family day trips, educational tours for pet owners and gallery nights. In addition, the facilities are made available for municipal events and nonprofit entities.

Also, a variety of vendors that stimulate the local economy, such as food and beverage services, are hosted. There is also the Reintegration Garden, where funeral services are provided with an ecological focus by reincorporating ashes into nature.

The funds include more than $482,000 for risk mitigation measures that will reduce the garden’s vulnerability to future weather events. These measures include securing air conditioners and water tanks, installing surge protectors, and other bioengineering strategies to improve bridge drainage.

Author Details
Author Details
This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *