Sarasota News Leader

08/09/2013 & 08/16/2013

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Sarasota News Leader August 9 & 16, 2013 Page 50 A GOOD DOCUMENT TO HAVE In addition to Sarasota County, Lee County, to the south, has been at work on one of Florida's pilot programs to develop a similar plan. After Pensacola was hit by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, officials in that Panhandle community came up with a comprehensive redevelopment plan as well, said Scott Montgomery, recovery chief for Sarasota County Emergency Management. "It's a good document for coastal communities to have," Montgomery pointed out. The draft of the recovery plan is organized into chapters covering topics such as housing and planning, infrastructure, economic development, environmental restructuring and financing. County Coastal Resources Manager Laird Wreford presents a program to the Siesta Key Association in 2012. File photo "Whether it's grants or federal assistance, what is out there?" will be one of the big questions in any redevelopment effort, Wreford noted. "We will have a review of the plan to see if it needs to be tweaked," Montgomery said. "It is not something you put on the shelf and say that is done." "We would want to minimize the downtime for tourism and minimize the effect of residents and the tax base that would flee the area," Wreford said. Another goal is to "avoid losing business and employers in the area." If roads or utilities change, for instance, those factors would have to be reflected in the redevelopment strategy. mal community atmosphere and the culture it Each chapter outlines possible major issues had before a disaster, Wreford added. and challenges, along with an action plan, WrWhile the plan is being written to apply to eford said. For instance, the financing chapany major disaster, county staff anticipates ter predicts anticipated revenue shortfalls and the most likely catastrophe to affect the area highlights possible ways to coordinate private would be a hurricane. and public funding. That chapter includes sections on how affected local governments can After the plan is approved, it will become a keep a high bond rating as well as information blueprint for periodic drills, and it will need periodic updates. on available redevelopment funding. "We are hoping to develop something that will help the community and save us a significant The most important goal is how to plan rede- amount of money if we get hit by a disaster," velopment so Sarasota County regains its nor- Wreford added. %

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