PINELLAS PARK, FL (June 6, 2019) – The federal government has awarded the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council two grants to fund projects that will help the Council work with local governments and citizens to make the area better able to withstand storms and sea level rise.
The first grant, for $299,245, was awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Commission. The funding is helping the Planning Council in its efforts to bring Tampa Bay’s governments together to establish a joint understanding of the best ways to make communities more resilient.
The region’s multiple towns and cities share a vulnerability to flooding, intense rainfall, prolonged heat events and the impacts of coastal hazards. If communities share a joint vision of resiliency to limit negative impacts as they make plans in the areas of infrastructure, economic development and flooding mitigation, they can spend less time and money rebuilding after a weather impact.
This grant will fund a series of workshops later this year and early next year in the six-county region the Planning Council serves, which includes Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas
counties. These sessions will be overseen by the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition, and will be open to the public to create a shared sense of ownership in decision-making. The workshops are part of the process of creating a comprehensive overview of known vulnerabilities and a Regional Resiliency Action Plan that can be implemented by local governments.
The second grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, is for $175,000. It will support the development of a Category 5 hurricane simulation so governments can practice responses to area businesses that would be hit by such a storm.
The initiative will also help small businesses learn about what emergency operations departments can do to help in a storm. In turn, governments’ emergency operations managers will gain more awareness of the needs of small businesses when critical infrastructures such as the electric grid, oil and gas delivery, and telecommunications fail.
About the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council works with 27 west-central Florida municipalities to assist the municipalities as they make long-range plans related to the future of the Tampa Bay region. The Council’s work focuses on resiliency, planning for climate change and sea level rise, environmental management, water quality, emergency preparedness planning, protection and restoration of the Tampa Bay estuary, economic analysis, coastal zone management, housing and infrastructure analysis, hurricane evacuation and recovery planning, development of regional impact review, local government comprehensive plan reviews, cross acceptance, dispute resolution and reviews of transportation plans. For more information, visit the Planning Council’s website at tbrpc.org.