CDBG-DR funds allocated for various island towns
By The Star Staff
Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced signed a fund alloca- tion agreement onTuesday with the municipalities of Aguadilla, Aguas Buenas, Gurabo, Orocovis, Ponce, Villalba and Yauco through the Puerto Rico Hous- ing Department as part of the first phase of the federal revitalization program under Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds.
The agreement will finance reconstruction of damaged infrastructure in the seven towns.
“The idea of this agreement is that mayors improve urban areas and help small and midsize businesses,” the governor said.
Urban revitalization — subsidized with CDBG-DR Program funds — will provide funding to revitalize key urban centers and corridors to improve communities and foster their social and economic development.
“Puerto Rico is going to rebuild itself. We are taking a firm step forward,” Vázquez said. “It was important for our people to see to it that these funds were appropriated.” Ponce Mayor María Meléndez Altieri said island towns have struggled for the past three years as they take over a high number of responsibilities previously held by the central government.
“We have had hurricanes, earthquakes and a pan- demic, but the mayors are not going anywhere,” she said. “We have the fight to thank for these funds. Also we are grateful for the funds to these seven municipalities.”
Villalba Mayor Luis Javier Hernández said the agree- ment will help hasten funds to municipalities.
“Without a doubt these funds are going to be well used by these seven municipalities,” he said. “We have the financial structures to be able to properly manage these funds.”
The program will also promote green infrastructure in municipalities and create opportunities for recovery activities, including the rehabilitation or construction of buildings within major urban areas.
The governor also met with members of the Mayors Association, which comprises Popular Democratic Party mayors.
Hernández and Guayanilla Mayor Nelson Torres Yor- dán, who is vice president of the Mayors Association, said they discussed with the governor the need for an agreement with the Department of Transportation and Public Works to expedite the cleanup of state and municipal roads to be ready in the event of a natural disaster.