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RESILIENT FUTURE: what Cape Coral's doing to stand up to future hurricanes

Posted at 5:11 PM, Mar 05, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — In Cape Coral recovering from Hurricane Ian, isn’t short like a sprint, it's long like a marathon.

“The longest phase of any type of emergency is the recovery phase,” said Alvin Henderson.

Henderson, the Manager for the Cape Coral Fire Department's Emergency Management Division spoke with Fox 4 about how an approved application for more hurricane federal grant funding, would help the city against future storms.

“We are looking to take those lessons learned and in many cases harden facilities or address issues had during Ian,” said Henderson.

Henderson said the $6.8 million from the disaster recovery grant would fuel five Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery projects for Hurricane Ian.

He said these projects include the City of Cape Coral Disaster and Cost Recovery Plan, North Cape Coral Drainage Basin Alternative Restoration Plan, Business Community Resiliency Plan, Communications Plan, and Cape Coral Parkway Corridor Planning Study.

Henderson told Fox 4, the Cape Coral Parkway corridor is an area the city continues to see growth.

“We want that area to be resilient and be able to handle that type of rainfall, inundation from the storm,” said Henderson.

On Tuesday, Henderson said part of the grant will be used to fund a planning study, which he said will provide city leaders with insight into what types of building codes made certain Cape Coral Parkway businesses more resilient than others.

“So we are looking at that history that we get from that information..high water marks, things like that,” said Henderson.

He said it would also look at how the area's storm-water drains handled the surge from Hurricane Ian.

The grant would also allow the Emergency Management Division to look at ways to improve their communication during and after storms.

"During Hurricane Ian we made those decisions on the fly, if you will, to change our fire stations into community information stations.

Henderson told Fox 4 that the department wants to build off that idea and use resources to help spread the word that resources like that are available if another Hurricane were to approach Southwest Florida.

Henderson said the Cape Coral Fire Department should learn more about the status of its grant request in the next few weeks.

A process he said won’t bear fruit overnight. He says it's one of the many projects the fire department is still working on that will help Cape Coral grow stronger for years to come.

“Hurricane Ivan,10 years of recovery work,” said Henderson.