Gov. DeSantis awards $10.4M to Sarasota for infrastructure resiliency projects

Money will fund Sarasota road work, environmental efforts, governor says

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Sarasota on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

SARASOTA, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday awarded $10.4 million to the city of Sarasota to fund multiple infrastructure projects.

The governor said that the funds will allow Sarasota to complete needed post-storm road work and environmental resiliency efforts.

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“The funds will allow the city to raise Van Wezel Way, which is an essential roadway for the area, but it’s currently subject to flooding during hurricanes and other significant rain events,” DeSantis said. “Second, it will restore the natural flow and water quality in Hog Creek.”

DeSantis said the restoration of Hog Creek will reduce flooding in Sarasota and mitigate the transfer of nutrients that fuel red tide.

“It will also improve the shoreline at (The) Bay Park to protect the area from erosion and damage caused by flooding, and so that will also serve effectively as a barrier for surrounding communities against the effects of storm on the coast,” DeSantis said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Sarasota on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

DeSantis was joined by Dane Eagle, secretary of the Department of Economic Opportunity, who said Friday’s award was the latest recommended by the DEO’s Office of Long Term Resiliency that focused on Sarasota for rebuilding efforts stemming from Hurricane Irma.

“Today’s announcement is $10 million, it’s going to do wonders for this community not only for resiliency for future storms, but (what) the economic and cultural impact of this shoreline, and the raising on Van Wezel Way, the restoration of Hog Creek is going to do for this area is going to be monumental for generations to come,” Eagle said.

Sarasota Mayor Eric Arroyo thanked DeSantis for the award, calling it historical and multi-generational.

“It’s something that our kids and our kids’ kids and our great grandkids will be able to benefit from in Florida, and it doesn’t matter if you’re Republican, Democrat Libertarian or vegetarian, it is something that everyone can enjoy,” Arroyo said.

DeSantis, when asked by a reporter if he had received a COVID-19 booster shot, said that it was a “private matter” that he was not going to let people use as a “weapon.”

“They’ve been available for people, people can make their own decisions on it, but it’s not been something that, you know, that we’ve been telling people in my age group, you know, to go out and do,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis was also asked about the Florida Senate not taking up his redistricting map and instead overwhelmingly approving another on Thursday.

“Each chamber is able to weigh in, and of course for the state maps, those maps go in straight to the Supreme Court for the congressional map, it requires my signature,” DeSantis said. “That process will work itself out and we’ll be able to hopefully end up with a product that makes a lot of sense.”

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.