BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — A new push to protect property and lives from storm damage is coming to one Southwest Florida community. The City of Bonita Springs announced the Hurricane Irma Voluntary Home Buyout Program, initiative targeting areas worst hit during Hurricane Irma.
This comes after the State of Florida allocated $75 million for most impacted communities, opening grant applications for cities through its Block Grant - Disaster Recovery funds. If grants are received, the areas they would focus on is Quinn Street and Downs Street, between I-75 and Lime Street, and Bonita Beach Road and the Imperial River.
People living in the area were surprised by the city’s announcement of the project, like Mark Westall, who says the city’s late response in addressing the damage is concerning.
“It seems kind of like an afterthought, instead of being proactive about the problem here,” Westall said.
The city is planning to have two informational sessions for people interested in the program, one Thursday, August 1, and the other Tuesday, August 6. Both meetings are from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The city is also hosting a meeting for public input on August 7, at 5:30 p.m.
“It all comes down to how are they going to value my house. What is that going to allow me to do to buy another house? Is it a truly voluntary process or is it something where it gets to the point after they get so many that it becomes a forced process,” Westall said.