Showing You the Money

 

Greetings Gulfport. It has been several weeks since I addressed you in the Gabber, but I have been hard at work for the city during that time. My thanks to the Gabber for providing me with this forum. 

 I want to speak to you today about the remarkable successes that we have had securing funding from the federal, state and county government over the past year. First of all, I want to thank our City Manager Jim O'Reilly for his exceptional efforts toward bringing money to Gulfport. My gratitude also goes to many members of city staff and your city council, and folks like Linda Fisher with the Pinellas Planning Council who have been instrumental in tracking down funding mechanisms. 

Here's the breakdown of the money we have secured:

Last summer we received a $400,000 Brownfields grant from the US EPA to fund the evaluation and assessment of potentially contaminated properties along the 49th Street corridor. This project is currently underway, and my thanks go out to Community Development Director Fred Metcalf for managing this onerous process.

We have received a $110,000 state grant for the renovation and expansion of our transient boat docks by the Casino. This money has been allocated, and once we receive the go-ahead from the National Marine Fisheries Service and the state, this work will begin. Thanks to Harbor Master Denis Frain for his work on this.

We have also received $180,000 from the Pinellas County Library Cooperative for the upcoming renovations to the Gulfport Public Library. This work is scheduled to begin this summer, and I am very appreciative of Library Director David Mather's work to that end.

Most recently, thanks to the efforts of our District 69 Legislative Representative Kathleen Peters, we have been awarded $245,000 from the state of Florida to repair and replace stormwater culverts in the Pasadena Yacht and Country Club. 

Additionally, also thanks to Rep. Peters, we received a $500,000 state appropriation to address stormwater runoff and drainage into Clam Bayou and Boca Ciega Bay from the 49th Street area watershed. This makes us eligible for matching funds up to $500,000 from the SW Florida Water Management District. The purpose of this project is to significantly reduce the introduction of nutrients and contaminants to our public waters. A sampling regimen will be implemented to measure the impact of this stormwater retrofit project on water quality once the design phase is initiated.

Pinellas County recently confirmed that funds for Gulfport Boulevard paving will be included in the 2015 budget, two years ahead of the previous schedule provided by the county. The span scheduled for resurfacing extends from 49th Street to Oleander Way, which means that all of Gulfport Boulevard within the city limits will be paved. My thanks to Commissioners Ken Welch, Charlie Justice and all of the PCC for moving this ahead on the timeline.
 

Pending funds:

As you may know, I have been petitioning the Tourism Development Council to allocate $500,000 toward the nourishment of Gulfport Beach. While we have yet to receive official word on this, it is looking very positive. My thanks go out to TDC Chair and County Commissioner Karen Seel, Clearwater Mayor Cretekos, St. Petersburg Mayor Kriseman, Madeira Beach Mayor Palladeno and the other TDC board members for their support on this issue.

A 1.6 million dollar grant, funded by the RESTORE Act in the wake of the BP oil spill, is still pending. If acquired, these funds will be used toward water quality improvement initiatives for Clam Bayou and Boca Ciega Bay.  

Lastly, a multi-party settlement from BP is still frozen in bureaucracy and litigation. If successful, we will receive up to 3 million dollars for coastal-related improvements/restoration. It will likely be only a portion of that sum, however, but every little bit counts.  

Unfortunately, we did not receive the anticipated grant funding for the mooring field. If council chooses to do so, we will try for that money again at the earliest opportunity. All in all, a stellar run for Gulfport. We hope to continue this trend in the coming year. Thanks for taking an interest in your city, and have a dynamite summer.