State funds local water projects with $6 million

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the release of $404 million in grants that will support 113 environmental resilience programs throughout Florida, including three projects in Alachua County.

The Resilient Florida Grant Program helps prepare communities for flooding and storm surge impacts, and Alachua County will see nearly $6 million in funds.

The local governments will provide the rest of the money needed to complete the projects.

“For the first time ever, Florida has strategic coordination of statewide efforts to protect our coastal and inland infrastructure, and the dedicated funding to support these projects,” DeSantis said in a statement. “This announcement is just the beginning. My administration will continue to support our communities’ resilience efforts across the state.”

One approved project will work on drainage improvements around the Hills of Santa Fe complex. The total cost for the project sits just over $1 million and the state has sent $507,615.

Another $672,815—half of the needed funds—will go toward the county’s drainage improvements in Pine Hills.

The City of Gainesville received the largest local share of the money—$4,746,000 for the city’s Wastewater Lift Station—to reduce sewer overflows. The project is expected to last 3 years, and the city will contribute just over $7.1 million.

In Dixie County, the state grant will provide most of the funds. Dixie County will add $102,000 to the state’s $498,000 grant for airport and prison flood abatement.

DeSantis created Florida’s first Flooding Resilience Plan in December as well as the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection.

The funds for the grant program were part of his 2021-2022 fiscal budget which the Legislature approved by passing SB 1954.

Heavy rains and flooding after Tropical Storm Else prompted the Small Business Administration to announce a loan program last week for Dixie and Gilchrist counties along with all adjacent counties.

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