State representative files bill to fund Babcock Ranch emergency shelter

Writer: Jack Lowenstein

Discussions are underway to build a regional emergency shelter on land in Babcock Ranch. In 2017, many Hurricane Irma survivors in Charlotte County had to evacuate Sarasota. WINK News confirmed it would cost taxpayers at least $8 million to complete the proposed shelter.

State Rep. J.W. Grant (R-Tampa) filed a bill in the Florida House of Representatives asking for the $8 million to assist in funding a hurricane shelter in Babcock Ranch.

“Eight million dollars as part of a collection of buckets,” said Syd Kitson, chairman and CEO of Kitson and Partners. “Kitson and Partners is contributing, Florida Power and Light is contributing. Hopefully Charlotte County will contribute some and then you have the state.”

Kitson said the proposed shelter would act as a new athletic filed for the community when it’s not being used for emergency purposes.

In December, WINK News reported talks in Charlotte County about upgrading one of its schools into a shelter, but the district said that is no longer an option because the land isn’t high enough.

“I think that there’s a need for more than one shelter here in Charlotte County,” Kitson said.

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