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FEMA awards funding to repair sports and recreation facilities

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Several sports facilities in Aguadilla, Aibonito, Barranquitas, Carolina and Toa Baja will be repaired using an obligation of nearly $13.3 million in funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Some of these are in the design and planning process, while work in others has already been completed.

“In addition to serving as places for personal and family recreation, many of these spaces function as distribution centers, shelters and meeting points in times of disaster. Seeing these projects underway helps to create resilient communities, which in turn gives back that sense of self-sufficiency to our people,” said Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico, José G. Baquero.

Among the sports facilities that have already completed their repairs is the Germán Rieckehoff Sampayo Sports School in Carolina. Funds were allocated to seal roofs, repair windows and doors, light fixtures and install acoustic ceilings, among others.

Currently, the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3) is processing a disbursement of more than $680,000 for the municipality.

Carolina Mayor José Aponte-Dalmau said the Sports School is part of the municipality’s system of complementary schools. Founded in 1989 with only five sports, it currently covers 18 disciplines and has benefitted “thousands of children, many of whom have excelled at the national and international level.”

“With FEMA’s help and with the contribution made by the municipality, we’ve been able to give back to all those children and all those teachers, to the whole city, their Sports School so that starting in August they can continue to achieve their dreams,” the mayor said.

In Aibonito, the funds to repair 26 projects exceed $6.5 million and include improvements to the indoor basketball court in the La Plata neighborhood and the passive park at the Multiuse Center in the Amoldadero sector.

Both works were recently completed. Repairs are also being made to various sports and community facilities in the Villa Rosales neighborhood.

For the municipality of Toa Baja, nearly $9.5 million was obligated to repair 31 sports facilities, including the basketball courts at Paseo Magdalena, Barrio Candelaria and Villa Olga, among others. These facilities will have their fences, lighting, roofs and bleachers repaired, in addition to other works.

“Each one of these spaces represents quality of life for our people and generates a positive impact, for which I am grateful for the work done to designate these funds, as well as the communication and coordination during this process,” said Toa Baja Mayor Bernardo Márquez.

Meanwhile, the municipality of Aguadilla received an allocation of just over $2 million to repair the Paseo Real Marina, which runs a mile along the beach and is a space for runners and walkers.

“This project is very important for our municipality, as it impacts hundreds of citizens and visitors who come daily. We are working on the auction for the repair design, which will implement mitigation measures to prevent the affected elements from suffering damage again, adding life and development for fishermen,” said Aguadilla Mayor Julio Roldán-Concepción.

In addition, $1 million was awarded to repair the running track at the sports complex in the Barrancas neighborhood of the mountain town of Barranquitas.

The town’s Mayor, Elliot Colón-Blanco, believes sports facilities represent opportunities for children and young people, and are vital for the well-being of all.

“Sports, with adequate facilities, are a great help in combating many health problems and provide us with security,” Colón-Blanco added.

COR3 Executive Director Manuel A. Laboy, said the reconstruction of these spaces contributes to Puerto Rico’s social development.

“Our island is recognized for the quality of its athletes. Therefore, it is important to provide them with the necessary conditions and tools to achieve their goals,” he said.

“In addition to this new and important obligation of funds from FEMA, COR3 has disbursed more than $40 million to multiple municipalities, under FEMA’s Public Assistance category that addresses the reconstruction of parks and recreational facilities,” Laboy said.

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