MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Mexico Beach is known for its beautiful beach, its fishing and the resilient locals who call the city home. As it continues to rebuild, a new face is leading the charge.
After the sudden passing of City Administrator Andy Anderson, the city of Mexico Beach needed a fill-in.
Former Panama City Beach City Manager Mario Gisbert stepped up to the plate and has been working part-time in the city for a little over the month as acting City Administrator.
He says more than $30 million has come into the city since Hurricane Michael and many projects are going on.
One project, in particular, Gisbert says is the revamp of the marina and canal system.
“The canal project was built in 2017 and still standing. It was built to withhold the hurricane that hit us. It probably got full of sand and got sand over the top of it but once the crews came in here and started dredging the canal back out and dredging all the debris that fell into the canal, it’s opened it back up. It is a fully functioning canal system,” Gisbert said.
Gisbert says the city owns a dredge and this constantly keeps the area up to standard.
“Some of the other projects that have been completed. We have renourished the dunes so as you drive down the beach, you see this beautiful pristine dune that has already been planted with sea oats with volunteers and with volunteer plants. The dune walkovers, the wooden walkways that were there. Six have been replaced. Nine more will be replaced in the following months. There will be more to come but as the money comes in, we’re putting it to work as quickly as it comes in.”
Besides the beautiful waters, Gisbert says citizens are also getting back into their homes.
The details I think is approximately 1,200 units before the storm, there’s about 700 today but on any and every given day, there are two to three permits coming on, there are two or three water services coming on and with the new year coming in, we’ve already seen an influx of that.”
Gisbert says he’s seen the city leaders and residents do amazing work since the storm and recovery are moving as quickly as it is due to the resiliency in the city.
Every year is going to be a noticeable change. If you think in time, one year. It’s hard to see what changes in a place when everything is normal but when you’re rebuilding to this level every year is going to be growing in leaps and bounds just to build back what it was before, a beautiful quiet fishing community that is resilient.”
Below is a breakdown of some projects and funds the city has thus far:
Salt Creek – FEMA funded mitigation, RBM Contracting $1.9 M
Beach Dune – FEMA funded, North Florida Construction $3.5 M
Dune Walkovers – FEMA funded – Floridian Construction $1.2 M
8th Street Canal/ Regional Stormwater – USACE funded $10 M
Inlet – potentially FEMA funded – Crowder Gulf $22 M
Gisbert says they will have more announcements about new projects in the city very soon.
The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 14 at 1:00 p.m. CST.