The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council has received the 2022 Governor’s Hurricane Conference Public/Private Award in Innovation for its “Project Phoenix 2.0: The Recovery” initiative. The Regional Planning Council was recognized for its dedication to aiding the community in hurricane preparedness, recovery, and research in Florida.
The Regional Planning Council’s Project Phoenix 2.0 was selected for its illustrations of the impacts of a Category 5 hurricane on the Tampa Bay region. The first Project Phoenix was developed in 2009, and the models were updated with Project Phoenix 2.0 in 2020 to reflect the region’s growth.
With Project Phoenix 2.0, the Regional Planning Council focused on small business preparation and recovery because as many as 40% of area small businesses would permanently close in the wake of a Category 5 hurricane with a direct hit on the Tampa Bay region. Project Phoenix 2.0 was designed to help these businesses get adequately prepared for such a storm.
Through Project Phoenix 2.0, business owners can learn important information on how to create continuity plans, evaluate insurance needs, develop human resource plans, and protect the business’ property and facilities. These steps are critical in helping them maintain or quickly reestablish business operations should a catastrophic storm hit the Tampa Bay region.
“These steps are critical in helping small business owners maintain or quickly reestablish business operations should a catastrophic storm hit the Tampa Bay region,” said Sean Sullivan, Executive Director, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
Project Phoenix 2.0 includes a series of videos (tbrpc.org/phoenix/) that offers a chilling look at the catastrophic impacts a Category 5 storm would have on the region. The first video simulates “Hurricane Phoenix” forming in the Gulf of Mexico, small businesses throughout the Tampa Bay region getting prepared, the moment of impact, and the aftermath of the storm. Other videos feature stories from business owners who experienced the devastation of 2018’s Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida.
This approach demonstrates how one region in Florida can support and learn from another, so if a “Hurricane Phoenix” does come, the Tampa Bay region can be ready.
The Regional Planning Council focused its education and outreach on small business owners to help them develop a plan to recover and continue operations after a hurricane. The Regional Planning Council gave more than 50 presentations to local chambers of commerce, business groups and local governments about Project Phoenix 2.0.
The Governor’s Hurricane Conference Award in Innovation is the highest honor presented at Florida’s largest hurricane preparedness and recovery conference. The conference was held in West Palm Beach Florida from May 8-12.
About the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council brings together governments to coordinate planning for the community’s future and provide an opportunity for sharing solutions among the local government jurisdictions in the Tampa Bay region. The TBRPC works with six counties and 21 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, local government comprehensive plan reviews, cross acceptance, dispute resolution and reviews of transportation plans. Learn more at tbrpc.org.