Lee County moves forward draft action plan for billion-dollar grant, public comment period begins

Reporter: Kellie Miller Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:

Lee County is taking another significant step towards rebuilding after Hurricane Ian.

County commissioners voted Tuesday to move forward with a draft action plan for a $1.1 billion grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The plan, carefully developed by the Resilient Lee task force over several months, aims to improve housing, infrastructure, public services and planning initiatives in the community. 

“Today is about making sure we put together the best plan necessary to show the federal government that our unmet need is a lot greater than $1.1 billion,” said Commissioner Kevin Ruane, chairman of the Resilient Lee Recovery Task Force.

“This is an accumulation of information where the public has been engaged, and we certainly have had it as transparent as humanly possible, not only from the website but the multiple branch meetings, as well as the task force meetings, as well as the town hall meetings,” said Lee County Commissioner Kevin Ruane. “This is just your opportunity to weigh in and help with our recovery for Lee County.”

A public comment period has now opened and will run through the end of August, giving community members a chance to weigh in on the draft plan. It’s nearly 300 pages, but simply put, it details how Lee County plans to spend the grant money. 

Proposed distribution of funds, according to Lee County

  • HOUSING: $660,000,000
  • INFRASTRUCTURE:  $207,980,950
  • MITIGATION: $144,506,000
  • PUBLIC SERVICES : $15,000,000
  • PLANNING: $25,000,000
  • ADMINISTRATION: $55,394,050

Proposed housing recovery projects include repairing, reconstructing and elevating single-family homes, rehabilitating multi-family and rental housing, building new affordable housing units and offering voluntary residential buyouts. The allocated funds for housing programs would cover about 2,800 households.

Lee County also plans to implement two primary infrastructure recovery projects, including hurricane mitigation grant program infrastructure match funding and critical infrastructure.

These programs together will receive $352,486,950 of the allocated CDBG‐DR funds from HUD, which represents approximately 32 percent of the CDBG‐DR funds allocated to Lee County. 

WINK News asked Ruane if he would have liked to see more money.

Ruane replied, “It’s not over yet. We’ll advocate as strongly as we can to make sure we recover and we received the maximum reimbursement possibility.”

Read the full draft action plan here.  

Meanwhile, throughout August, you have the chance to attend public meetings and share your thoughts on the plan, which must be submitted to HUD by Sept. 20.

Here’s a list of locations where the public meetings will take place.

  • 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023: Bonita Springs City Council; 9101 Bonita Beach Road Bonita Springs, FL 34135
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023: Cape Coral City Council; 1015 Cultural Park Blvd., Cape Coral, FL 33990
  • 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023: North Fort Myers Recreation Center; 2000 N. Recreation Park Way, North Fort Myers, FL 33903
  • 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023: Town of Fort Myers Beach / DiamondHead Beach Resort; 2000 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
  • 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023: Veterans Park; 55 Homestead Road, Lehigh Acres, FL 33936
  • 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023: The Heights Center; 15570 Hagie Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33908
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023: City of Fort Myers / Stars Complex; 2980 Edison Ave., Fort Myers, FL 33916
  • 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023: Pine Island Elementary School; 5360 Ridgewood Drive, Bokeelia, FL 33922
  • 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 29, 2023: City of Sanibel / Big Arts Sanibel; 900 Dunlop Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957

Public comment is also being accepted via online web form, email and mail.

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