Mexico Beach focuses on bringing back amenities lost in Hurricane Michael

Local News

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Since Hurricane Michael, FEMA has funneled $100 million into Mexico Beach and city officials are expecting to receive another $20 million.

City amenities along with infrastructure have all been a part of a long list of projects and some of them are close to getting started.

Sunset Park, the police and fire station, and the public pier are just a few of the items on the list.

Mexico Beach City Administrator, Doug Baber, said he is looking forward to seeing these projects come to life.

“Some of the recent highlights have been on the infrastructure — you know the things a lot of people don’t see like the sewer and the water and the roads and things of that nature,” Baber said. “Now it’s time to start giving our residents back a little bit of what they missed out on over the last three years.”

One of those projects is Sunset Park. Baber said park construction could begin in November and be completed by next Spring.

Plans include new public restrooms — something Mexico Beach hasn’t had since the storm.

“To build them back the way they were but stronger so that in the future they don’t get blown away as bad,” Baber said. “So, we’ve done a lot of things with upgrading some of the bathrooms, we’ve raised the level of the buildings, we’ve made them stronger so they can last much longer.”

The St. Joe Company is also stepping up, by partnering with the city and donating 25 acres for a new municipal complex.

“So the police station, the fire station, the civic center will go there — it’s going to be a great project we’re working on our funds through FEMA there could be some other funding sources as well,” Baber said.

City officials are buying an additional 80 acres from St. Joe on the eastern end of the county for a stormwater retention pond and another park.

“That’s a prime location for our stormwater storage to go there,” Baber said.

The public pier is also getting some upgrades. The ramp will be more accessible and will extender farther out into the Gulf.

“The pier is actually in the process of final design,” Baber said. “We’re waiting to see how much money they’re actually going to give us but they’ve been very receptive to the ideas that we’ve put forward to them.”

Mexico Beach appealed the original amount of money FEMA offered to pay for the new municipal complex. FEMA first offered around $2 million to rebuild the fire department in the old location but city officials are asking for approximately $9 million.

Baber said they need the additional funds to prepare the 25 acres the St. Joe Company is giving them for the new municipal complex, primarily building roads.

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