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Governor Awards $4.4M in Infrastructure Funding to Southeast Florida Communities

Governor DeSantis presents a $750,000 infrastructure award to Fellsmere Mayor Joel Tyson
WQCS photo
Governor DeSantis presents a $750,000 infrastructure award to Fellsmere Mayor Joel Tyson

Governor Ron DeSantis was in Vero Beach Monday afternoon for the latest in a series of media events he’s held across the state to announce infrastructure grants to local communities with funding from both federal and state sources. At each event the Governor has hit the same notes, highlighting Florida’s record tourism numbers, new business startups that lead the nation, and a state budget surplus.

At C.J. Cannon’s restaurant at the Vero Beach airport he told a group of supporters, and reporters, that “we have a record surplus in Florida ... because we spend very reasonably, conservatively.” And as he did at the other recent media events, the Governor came bearing gifts from that surplus. He announced $4.4 million dollars in infrastructure awards for Monroe, Broward and Indian River Counties.

The following community will receive an award through the Florida Rural Infrastructure Fund:

• City of Fellsmere ($750,000) – to extend the sewer systems for Headwaters Commerce Park in an effort to increase wastewater discharge capacity

The following communities will receive awards through the Federal Community Development Block Grant:

• Monroe County ($2,956,534) – to enhance Rowell’s Waterfront Park through building parking, restrooms, shared use paths, site lighting, and a Wi-Fi network should it need to be converted into a multi-use location

• City of Pompano Beach ($518,651) – to provide rental assistance through the city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program to assist low-income households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

• City of Sunrise ($268,332.93) – to install Wi-Fi at the city’s Roarke Hall, City Park, and the Village Beach Club to increase internet accessibility for all citizens to utilize for seeking education and employment opportunities, conducting business, and accessing healthcare

The Governor also took questions from the media. He was asked if he would sign a bill that would require statewide inspections of all condominiums 30 years after construction and then every 10 years thereafter for buildings of at least three stories. The measure was introduced in the wake of last’s years condo collapse in Surfside. The final version is now being worked out in a House Senate conference committee in Tallahassee.

“I haven’t seen it so we’ll see," said the Governor, "but I’ve said when Surfside happened if there is anything we can be doing at the state level that can potential alert someone that something like this, as catastrophic and as unusual as it was, could happen, then that’s something that we have to consider." Although he added that he does not think condo construction issues are "a rampant problem throughout Florida.”

The Governor spontaneously closed the news conference, without being asked, by sharing his view on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He blamed the attack in part on what he called the weak leadership of President Biden which Russian President Putin took advantage of. “If you look at what happened in Afghanistan, it was a total catastrophe," said DeSantis. "Russia was watching that, China was watching that, Iran was watching that. That whetted the appetite of these dictators.”