The San Juan Daily Star
FEMA earmarks $9 million for beach renovation
By The Star Staff
The seaside towns of Aguadilla, Carolina and Manatí recently received nearly $1.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to restore their beaches as part of over $9 million that the agency has earmarked for recreational areas at those and other beaches of the island.
Alanys Liranza González is one of the 8,000 people who frequently visits the Carolina Public Beach and she is glad to be back.
“The atmosphere is always pleasant and practical, and the restoration of the area motivates one to return,” she said. “The facilities have been great to bring friends and hold activities here.”
Due to its proximity to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, the Carolina Public Beach — which will receive nearly $591,000 from the agency — is one of the beaches on the northeast coast with the largest number of visitors.
“With repairs completed and others in progress, the projects are already underway so that all Puerto Ricans can enjoy the variety of beaches on the island,” Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator José G. Baquero said. “Furthermore, the works are part of the 87% of Public Assistance projects that include mitigation measures to protect these spaces from future disasters.”
Miguel Hernández is a beach tennis instructor who will soon celebrate his 10th year of operations at the public beach in Carolina, serving students from age five to over 60.
“The sport brings the family together, [and] helps people of different ages to come and participate,” he said. “The beach has always been very active and the fact that FEMA granted these funds to renovate the facilities has kept people visiting from all over the island.”
Meanwhile, the recreational area of Los Tubos Beach in Manatí is already in its reconstruction phase, Mayor José Sánchez González said. Known for its surfing competitions, Los Tubos will benefit from over $623,000 to repair gazebos, lighting and retaining walls, among other features.
The mayor emphasized that the tourism project will not disturb the Tortuguero Lake Natural Reserve, an ecological phenomenon in which the region’s salty marine waters and the fresh subterranean waters combine.