Reconstruction projects in Puerto Rico for Hurricane María recovery efforts continue with the assignment of more than $18.5 million in additional funds for 77 projects approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction, and Resilience, or COR3.
The funds were awarded between June 26 and July 1, of which 68 grants will go toward projects in municipalities for more than $17 million, the agencies said.
Among the recent grants is more than $238,000 to the municipality of Luquillo to remove and replace the asphalt in the Buena Vista Carrion and El Hoyo sectors, which are the only road access for about 55 families that live in this area.
“Receiving the approval for these much-needed funds from FEMA to repair the damage from Hurricanes Irma and María, which was devastating in Luquillo, is very optimistic,” said the Luquillo Mayor Jesús Gerardo Márquez-Rodríguez.
“Having these roads in optimal condition is very beneficial and critical in emergencies. It’s a great pleasure to know that these residents will be able to have the roads they need,” he said.
Another $209,000 was obligated for the municipality of Barranquitas to repair the former Old Casino, which will soon become the School of Fine Arts. The building has more than half a century of history and will offer different cultural programs related to music and dance for the social benefit of the municipality.
“This space will provide the opportunity to educate children and our youth on everything related to the fine arts, and will be accessible and enjoyable for all barranquiteños,” said the Barranquitas Mayor Elliot Colón-Blanco.
Meanwhile, more than 40,000 residents in Vega Alta will enjoy new recreational facilities with the approval of more than $155,000 for two permanent work projects: the basketball court and baseball park in the town’s Carmelita Sector.
“The projects we’re presenting today with FEMA are in addition to the other initiatives we’re working on at the municipal level to move recovery from planning to reality,” said the Mayor of Vega Alta, Oscar “Can” Santiago-Martínez.
“For this hurricane season, we’re also strengthening our Municipal Emergency Management teams to encourage preparedness and resilience strategies,” he said.
Measures to offset possible future damage are equally as important as funds for repairs, the government agencies confirmed.
To this end, the El Hoyo Sector of Luquillo will use about $22,000 of the allocation to optimize the road drainage system and a 10-foot long concrete slab is planned to be installed at the approach.
Meanwhile, in Barranquitas about $20,000 will be used to install metal panels on the roof. Similarly, in Vega Alta, a metal roof will be installed in the municipality’s basketball court, as well as other mitigation measures, for a total of about $21,000 for the projects.