Governor DeSantis visits Panama City to announce Hurricane Michael recovery money

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 6:05 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a stop in Panama City Wednesday afternoon with a pretty big announcement for our area.

More than $58 million is being awarded to communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. The goal is to get communities and their businesses back on their feet.

“Today, I was proud to award $58 million to communities across seven counties impacted by Hurricane Michael through the Rebuild Florida Hometown Revitalization Program,” DeSantis said.

This program, provided by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity, will be spread throughout seven different counties including; Bay, Jackson, Liberty, Gadsden, Calhoun, Walton, Washington, and Franklin.

“For many of our rural and small communities, the downtown businesses are the core of the community, and the largest amount of funds, $19 million is going right here to Panama City,” DeSantis said.

The Governor says $5.6 million will be going to Lynn Haven. Another $5 million will go to the city of Springfield. Some of this money specifically focuses on helping local businesses, like History Class Brewing Company, stay afloat after a difficult few years.

“So many people are going to be helped. But, more importantly, we have a government that recognizes that they don’t build these buildings the way they used to and you cannot replace them,” Allen Branch, owner of History Class Brewing, said. “You don’t abandon communities after Cat 5 hurricanes. We’ve seen that time and time again this administration shows up with checks and kind words and that matters.”

This money will also help businesses make repairs, along with keeping their doors open after taking financial losses due to the hurricane.

“This means that maybe we’ll get a roof for Christmas and we couldn’t be more excited,” Jessica Kent, owner of Gulf Coast Aquarium, said. “We’re going to overcome the hurricane, overcome COVID, and we just can’t wait to get re-grand opened and back, you know, in our building.”

This round of funding will also focus on streetscapes, installing lighting in downtown areas, and restoring structures in commercial districts damaged by Hurricane Michael.

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