Release Date: Sep 22, 2020
Release Number : NR 470
Obligations include over $461,000 for the Punta Mulas Lighthouse and community center in Vieques
GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico -- **FEMA and the Puerto Rico Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3, announced the obligation of over **$91.4 million in additional funds for 135 projects related to the recovery and reconstruction of Puerto Rico after Hurricane María. These grants were obligated during the week of September 11-17.
Among the most recent allocations is about $461,000 for repairs to the historic Punta Mulas Lighthouse built in 1895 and its community center, located on the north coast of Vieques. Formerly the house of a French bullfighter, this cultural landmark served as the municipality's first museum in the 90s. Today, it is a tourist attraction where the beautiful views of the island of Puerto Rico can be enjoyed.
"Within our urban area, [the lighthouse] is one of the top three places most visited by tourists. The Punta Mula community center was the main community center for all Viequenses. For us as a municipality it is an additional source of income, since both the center and the surrounding green areas are rented out," said Vieques Mayor Víctor Emeric Catarineau.
Meanwhile, over **$678,000 **was approved for the municipality of Coamo to repave several roads in the Barrio Santa Catalina. These five streets allow around 125 families to reach their homes.
"The Municipality of Coamo will be working with the auction and contracting to expedite it as much as possible. These projects come to solve access and road safety problems for the residents of the mentioned areas," said Coamo's Mayor, Juan Carlos "Tato" Garcia Padilla.
On the other hand, just over $218,000 was obligated for the municipality of Hormigueros to repair five recreational facilities. Among these is the municipal greenhouse where more than 2,000 pounds of green peppers are grown each month and sold to local businesses, which also generates 5 direct employments. In addition, the Mirador Torre Vista a la Bahía located in the Hoya Grande Sector, with a view to the bay of Mayagüez, is also part of this list. Likewise, the Paseo de la Abolición, the municipality's passive playground and the municipal pools and gazebos, which have a capacity for 50 people, will be repaired.
For his part, the first municipal executive indicated that all these projects are important for the development of the municipality and these assignments speed up the reconstruction process. "I am very happy that the agricultural greenhouse has received an obligation since it is a novel project where we demonstrate that it is possible to export and consume by producing locally," added the mayor of Hormigueros, Pedro Juan García.
A part of these funds will be used to prevent future damage as mitigation measures. In Coamo, about $55,000 will be used to install an asphalt reinforcement system on all impacted roads. In Vieques, about $17,000 will be used to upgrade the Punta Mulas Lighthouse with metal exterior panels and the replacement of 1,800 square feet of asphalt roofing and for the community center to provide an anchorage system to resist wind pressure, among other measures. Meanwhile, in Hormigueros, roofing at Mirador Torre Vista a la Bahía will be reinforced.
The most recent approved grants are broken down as follows:
- Nearly $37 million for road and bridge repairs;
- Over $25.7 million for administrative expenses of municipalities and government agencies;
- Over $11.2 million for repairs to parks and recreational facilities;
- Over $8.5 million for emergency protective measures;
- Over $6.9 million for repairs to public buildings and equipment;
- Over $678,000 for debris removal; and
- Over $105,000 for utilities.
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 María. To date, over $7.3 billion has been awarded to Puerto Rico as part of FEMA's Public Assistance program.
For more information on Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane Maria, please visit fema.gov/disaster/4339 and recuperacion.pr. Follow us on social networks at Facebook.com/FEMAPuertoRico, Facebook.com/COR3pr and on Twitter @COR3pr.