Dixie County received more than $10 million in funding from the General Appropriations Act on Friday to address three infrastructure projects.
At a press conference held at the Dixie County Emergency Operations Center, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the money will go toward the construction of two fire stations along with stormwater and flood mitigation that has plagued the county in recent years.
“We’ve seen in Dixie County there’s been a lot of impact from natural disasters,” DeSantis said at the press conference. “Over the past many years, you had infrastructure damage and the county relies on certain types of infrastructure. And as a smaller county that’s more fiscally constrained, the county needs help from the state of Florida.”
The funds include $3,741,500 for the addition of a fire station adjacent to the Dixie County Emergency Operations Center located in Cross City, $3,555,000 for an additional fire station to replace a fire station that was damaged during Hurricane Hermine in 2016, and $2,711,262 for stormwater and flood mitigation projects.
“We understand the flooding that we’ve seen in this part of the state,” DeSantis said. “We had a lot of heavy rainfall, we had road closures, so we are going to provide Dixie County with $2.7 million for flood and stormwater mitigation so that we can alleviate flooding in the area.”
State Sen. Jen Bradley (R-District 5), who joined DeSantis at the conference, said the flooding that affected homes and businesses and how that needs to be addressed long term.
“Dixie (County) is just a gem,” Bradley said. “It is a beautiful old Florida County and it has the Gulf of Mexico, it’s got the Suwannee River, but we know that water can be a challenge sometimes, and managing that water can be awfully expensive. And we sat at a delegation meeting and talked to moms who had to put their kids in a small boat to get them from their house to the school bus stop. Not just for days or weeks, but for months.
“People had to go and fill up their water jugs every day. The prison flooded. Water is a big problem. And so this year, we convened a task force with leaders through the county. And my message was, give me a plan. Give me a plan that will work,” she said.
State Rep. Chuck Clemons, (R-District 21) also said the stormwater and flooding issues remain a constant challenge in the county, pointing out a resident in the crowd whose house has been flooded three times since 2017.
“Water, water, water, it still runs downhill, governor, and I remember in 2017 I went out to those people’s house,” Clemons said. “Wow man, raise your hand, in 2017 and their house is still underwater. It’s been three times I’ve been out there and it is still underwater. This great effort that you have brought to Dixie County will help solve and resolve some of those natural disaster types of things that are happening to the good people in Dixie County.”