SAN JUAN – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Central Office for Puerto Rico Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3, announced the obligation of nearly $ 62 million in additional funds for 89 projects related to the recovery and reconstruction of Puerto Rico after Hurricane María. These funds were obligated between July 10 and 16 and include $ 23 million for repairs to roads and bridges across the Island.
Among the recent grants are over $ 3.5 million to repair the Hotel Parador Baños de Coamo, known for its thermal bathing pools. The historic complex consists of four buildings, located on PR-15, with a total of 48 guest units, gazebos, and a central courtyard. Multiple repairs will be made to the structure “for the benefit of the thousands of visitors who come to the parador, one of Puerto Rico's iconic tourist attraction founded in 1847,” FEMA explained in a press release.
“The Land Administration is very pleased to receive funds from FEMA for the recovery and rehabilitation of the landmark Hotel Baños in Coamo. This investment in federal funds will benefit the tourism activity of the area, as well as the promotion of the economic development of the Municipality of Coamo and this region, ”said the executive director of the Land Administration, Dalcia Lebrón Nieves.
Similarly , in the central region of the island, a little over $ 3.1 million is earmarked for two sports facilities in Cidra, including the Little League baseball park and the Jesus M. Freire baseball stadium where the Municipal Office for Emergency Management and Disaster Administration and the Administrative Offices of the Department of Recreation and Sports are located, respectively. In addition to sporting events, these facilities hold multiple activities for the 43,000 residents of this town including graduations, concerts and fundraising activities for nonprofit organizations such as the American Cancer Society.
“These facilities represent the main sports and recreational complex of the city. The Little League Stadium also houses a water distribution point for emergency situations, ”said Cidra Mayor Javier Carrasquillo Cruz.
Also, over $ 1.1 million was obligated to the municipality of Guayanilla for paving and other repairs to the El Monte road, which provides access for the families of the Jagua Tuna neighborhood.
“We have been working for a long time to make projects like this happen in our town. I am thankful that this work on the road infrastructure of this community has begun and I trust that the projects of our town will continue to progress, ”said the mayor of Guayanilla, Nelson Torres Yordán.
Part of these funds will be used for mitigation measures to prevent possible future damage. The Land Administration will use about $ 2 million for the installation of hurricane rated light poles, an anchorage system for the roof unit that resists wind pressure and the replacement of windows and doors. Meanwhile, Cidra is considering installing gabion walls and geotextile to prevent erosion and landslides, totaling about $ 1.9 million for its two recreational projects. Furthermore, Guayanilla will use about $ 571,000 to include a drainage system which will reduce problems during similar events.
The most recent approved grants are broken down as follows:
• Nearly $ 23 million for repairs to road and bridges.
• Over $ 22 million for work related to parks and recreational facilities.
• Over $ 13 million for repairs to public buildings and equipment.
• Nearly $ 2 million for debris removal.
• Over $ 1.5 million for public utilities .
• Over $ 283,000 to municipalities and government agencies for administrative costs.
• Over $ 208,000 for emergency protection measures.
FEMA works with COR3 through the federal agency's Public Assistance program to obligate recovery funds to private nonprofit organizations, municipalities and agencies of the Government of Puerto Rico for expenses related to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. To date, over $ 7 billion has been awarded to Puerto Rico as part of FEMA’s Public Assistance program.