FEMA to have invested $3.8 billion in municipal reconstruction projects
By The Star Staff
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Sunday that it has granted funds for various public plazas to boost the economic and social development of towns on the island.
With its theatrical performances and music events for residents and visitors, Los Fundadores Public Square in the Municipality of Santa Isabel, for instance, represents one of the most important meeting places in the southern coastal town. It is one of several plazas to which FEMA granted funds to boost the economic and social development of the area.
Irma Bermúdez, a resident of Santa Isabel, recalls with great enthusiasm the renowned artists who have performed in the plaza. She also said that what she enjoys most about visiting the plaza today is “the camaraderie, seeing friends and telling anecdotes.”
Likewise, Deputy Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator Andrés García Martinó highlighted the great meaning that the gathering places have for Puerto Rico’s families.
“For many years they were the commercial backbone of the municipalities and today they are part of the history of their towns, while they continue to contribute to socioeconomic development,” he said. “With these funds, we seek to support renovations that continue to create opportunities for the residents of their communities.”
The Municipality of Santa Isabel has made over $557,000 available for repairs to Los Fundadores. Some of the work already completed includes the replacement of sidewalks, the construction of a new stage and new tables in the kiosk area, and the installation of artificial grass.
The Municipality of Barranquitas, meanwhile, also received obligations for its public square. Over $47,000 will be used for lighting, ornamental trashcans and the replacement of a glass skylight.
In that regard, Barranquitas Mayor Elliott Colón Blanco said, “It is of the utmost importance for us to maintain our facilities in optimal condition for the benefit of our constituents and the thousands of people who visit our beautiful plaza.”
To date, FEMA has awarded over $30.6 billion for more than 10,700 Public Assistance projects aimed at rebuilding a more resilient Puerto Rico. Of that sum, over $3.8 billion is earmarked for more than 6,400 municipal reconstruction projects throughout the island.