Four years after that morning when the country woke up due to a earthquake of 6.4 degrees of intensitythe challenges facing the area to recover continue to be multiple, but, even so, the executive director of the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience (COR3, for its acronym in English), Manuel Laboypointed to “further progress” on pending projects.
“Certainly, the first two years had many challenges that have been overcome, including managing multiple disasters such as hurricanes Irma and Maria, the COVID-19 pandemic and most recently, Hurricane Fiona. However, we see greater progress and traction over the past two years due to the initiatives we have implemented in favor of your projects.”Laboy assured.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), he said, has obligated $913 million to support the recovery of the area, which has made way for multiple projects, such as the reconstruction of the stadium Francisco “Paquito” Montaner of Ponce, which was completed, and the ball park Luis “Pegui” Mercado and the Lucas Sievens athletic track.
The engineer indicated that, currently, there are 284 facilities with obligations that amount to $105.3 million.
For the Municipality of Guanica, one of the most affected in the area, $4.1 was obligated for the development of a new project in the space where the mayor’s house was located. Meanwhile, the demolition of the Roberto Alberdeston stadium should begin in February, through a FEMA investment of around $2.6 million.
Likewise, The municipalities of Penuelas, Guayanilla, Guanica and Yauco have managed to complete 202 demolitions of a total of 295 private properties that were identified under the FEMA program known as Private Property Debris Removal (PPDR).
In addition to the works carried out in the municipalities, government agencies work on the rehabilitation of state properties that were damaged. Among these is a water storage tank in the Alturas Belgium community of Yauco, through an investment of $2.5 million.
Meanwhile, the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) will begin this quarter the engineering and architectural work of the Caguana Ceremonial Center, in Utuado, and the Music Museum, in Ponce. Also in the Stately City, the ICP is preparing to select the firm that will be in charge of the reconstruction of the Ponce Massacre Museum.
Other projects that are developed in the “Pearl of the South” are the Ponce Art Museum, the Sor Isolina Ferre Center and the Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Some of these projects involve structural studies, archaeology, the design of plans or structural repairs, among other processes, the official detailed.
Laboy further stated that FEMA has obligated $276 million to rehabilitate 148 of the 149 schools in the state. Education deparment who reported damage. In parallel, Education completed, through the Infrastructure Financing Authority (AFI), five of six temporary (modular) school buildings, thanks to an investment of $50 million in FEMA funds.
“Our goal is to expedite reconstruction, but we cannot compromise the good planning carried out by government agencies, municipalities and non-profit entities to determine whether a structure should be repaired, restored or replaced. with earthquake damage, in particular, because federal requirements for historic preservation and environmental compliance must be met,” stated Laboy Rivera.
On the other hand, the executive director of COR3 revealed that, Starting this Monday, the government will make $12.5 million of state funds available to the municipalities so that they can pay the 10% corresponding to the matching of the money assigned by FEMA for permanent work projects.
This item – which initially amounted to $10 million – had originally been provided for Hurricane Fiona reconstruction projects, but permanent earthquake work was included. “This initiative will continue to promote the development of projects due to the damage caused by the earthquakes”, stated Laboy Rivera.
Those municipalities interested in obtaining these funds can process the request through the email email@example.com.