The Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA) has been short-listed to receive $2.3 million in grant funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aimed at mitigating repetitively-flooded properties by raising the properties’ elevation. In November 2022, SRIA submitted an application identifying 10 leasehold properties as eligible for consideration.
On Aug. 28, 2023, FEMA announced the final selection of sub-applications for the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant funding totaling $711 million for fiscal year 2022. The chosen sub-applications have now entered the “Identified for Further Review” stage. These sub-applications contain sufficient information for a preliminary determination of cost-effectiveness and feasibility. In certain instances, FEMA may work with applicants to confirm cost-effectiveness and feasibility.
“While Identification for Further Review is not a notification of award, it is an indicator that these Pensacola Beach leaseholds are strong contenders, and it is a very positive sign,” said Leigh Davis, Executive Director of SRIA.
In this round, 127 individual property flood mitigation projects were selected nationwide. Of these, 97 sub-applications, totaling $220.28 million, were elevation projects like the ones proposed for Pensacola Beach. The Pensacola Beach properties, therefore, constitute 10% of the nationwide elevations for the fiscal year 2022 funding.
“We anxiously await the final notification of award to provide financial assistance for our beach residents and additional sustainability for our community as a whole,” Davis furthered.
Pensacola Beach is owned by Escambia County, Fla., and is under the direction of the Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA). The SRIA was created by the Florida legislature in 1947 under Chapter 24500. The SRIA does not receive tax support from the taxpayers of the county. It is fully funded from lease fees collected from business and residences on the beach. The SRIA board is made up of six members; five are named by members of the Escambia County Board of Commissioners whose term is the same as the commissioner who appointed them. Registered voters on Pensacola Beach elect the sixth member. The elected member’s term is two years.