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FEMA allocates $651K to repair public squares in 3 towns

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has allocated a little more than $651,000 to cover repairs and upgrades to the public town squares in the rural Puerto Rican municipalities of Naguabo, Santa Isabel and Barranquitas, it announced.

With its theatrical performances and music events for residents and visitors, Los Fundadores Public Square in Santa Isabel represents one of the town’s “most important meeting places of the town,” the agency said.

This is one of several plazas to which FEMA granted funds to boost the economic and social development of those areas.

“For many years, they were the commercial backbone of the municipalities, and today they are part of the history of their towns, while they continue to contribute to socioeconomic development,” said Andrés García-Martinó, deputy federal disaster recovery coordinator for FEMA’s Region 2. “With these funds, we seek to support renovations that continue to create opportunities for the residents of their communities.”

Santa Isabel has more than $557,000 available for repairs to Los Fundadores. Some of the work already completed includes the replacement of sidewalks, the construction of a new stage and new tables in the kiosk area, and the installation of artificial grass on the grounds.

“The investment made has not only had a tangible impact on the aesthetics and functionality of our plaza, which is the heart of our town, but along with our economic and social development efforts, it has also fostered a greater sense of belonging and pride among our citizens,” said Santa Isabel Mayor Rafael J. Burgos-Santiago.

Meanwhile, the Naguabo public square also benefited from agency awards for repairs, getting nearly $47,200 to be used to paint several components of the plaza — such as the benches, fountain and stage — and to replace the granite floor tiles, among other work.

Naguabo’s public square is the second largest in all Puerto Rico. The town’s original aqueduct is part of its history and today it is one of the five fountains on the structure. Other historical monuments include the statue of one of Puerto Rico’s first comedians, Ramón Rivero, better known as “Diplo.”

The Municipality of Barranquitas also received obligations for its public square. More than $47,000 will be used for lighting, ornamental trash cans and the replacement of a glass skylight.

“It is of the utmost importance for us to maintain our facilities in optimal conditions for the benefit of our constituents and the thousands of people who visit our beautiful plaza,” said Mayor Elliott Colón-Blanco.

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

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