Hawthorne wins $500K grant for downtown facelift

Hawthorne took a big step closer to a redesigned downtown when the Florida Department of Environmental Protection awarded the town a $500,000 grant to install stormwater gardens along SE 221st Street.

Hawthorne Mayor Matt Surrency said the grant completes another piece of the puzzle for the city’s vision of downtown.

“I think it's great for our city," Surrency said. "I'm really excited to see it coming through."

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City officials and the community created a strategic vision for Hawthorne six or seven years ago, Surrency said. That’s where the idea began for the green infrastructure stormwater garden.

Since then, the project has gone from the vision stage to planning and now the city is starting to see the project come together.

The gardens will comprise 6-12 hardscape “bump outs” along 221st Street. Native Florida wildlife will grow in these areas to beautify the city and naturally collect and treat rainwater before it enters the storm drains.

Bump outs also slightly alter the traffic pattern to increase pedestrian safety.

“It’s really a big win for the entire community, not just the city itself,” Surrency said.

With the grant, the city will put the project out to receive bids. Surrency said the city can expect to see something tangible at the beginning of 2022.

Hawthorne recently received another grant from the state to refurbish its historical museum and cultural center.

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