The Indian Trail Improvement District is seeking public comment on four projects that the district hopes to secure millions of dollars in grant money to complete.
If approved, the grants from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) do not require matching funds.
The DEO receives funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) to address unmet infrastructure needs related to the protection of critical facilities.
The projects, which have been on ITID’s agenda for years, include the completion of the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area berm, for which ITID is requesting $6,840,000; improvement of the culvert system at a cost of $2,100,000; restoration of the M-O Canal outfall for $800,000; and the R-3 Road Plan to improve drainage, roadways and other infrastructure at a cost of $11,261,825.
“All of these are grants that are available through DEO funding through HUD,” ITID President Betty Argue said. “We’ve identified four different projects to apply for to get funding. These are projects that we have in the works that we need to do.”
The Corbett project was started after Tropical Storm Isaac in 2012 dumped 18 inches of rain on the area causing the Corbett berm to breach. The state agreed to fund $8 million to the South Florida Water Management District to strengthen the berm and allocated $4 million for the first half of the project. The second half was never funded. In 2020, the estimated cost to finish the project is $6,840,000.
The M-O Canal project would upgrade the M-O Canal outfall gate that separates ITID from the Corbett area, which has been kept at higher water levels than the adjacent Acreage community.
The culvert project is to replace storm drains that have become stressed or no longer work in areas throughout The Acreage, while the R-3 Road Plan is intended to improve vehicular, pedestrian and other modes of travel to address increasing pressure on Acreage-area roadways.
Argue said that she does not know what the chances are of the funding requests going through.
“Because it became available through the DEO, everybody is going to be vying for them,” she said. “But if you don’t ask, you’re not going to get them. Obviously, we’ve been trying to get the balance of the funds for the berm through the state since 2013.”
Argue added that ITID has been trying unsuccessfully to get money for the M-O Canal project through the state for the past several years. Getting funding for the R-3 Road Plan would mitigate if not eliminate the need to do bond funding. The district has also been looking at a possible bond issue to improve the culvert system.
“We all pay taxes that we rarely see coming back to our community,” Argue said. “If we don’t try to get some of that money, or a portion of the pots of money, we’re never going to get it anyway. Our focus is to try to submit for as many of those applications as we can.”
She said the district became aware of the availability through a grant service provider contract it has with Ryan Ruskay of RMPK Funding.
All comments must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org and must be received no later than close of business on Sept. 1.