PARKER, Fla. (WMBB) — The Parker Sports Complex rebuild has been on the minds of residents and city leaders since it was destroyed by Hurricane Michael over three years ago.
Now, the clock is ticking for the city to fix it up before funding is gone.
Leaders have held meetings for the past few months about plans and funding, but time is running out. FEMA reimbursements are on the line.
“They are well aware that we are going to go by the October 1st deadline,” Parker Mayor Andrew Kelly said. “It’s going to come and go, and we will not have all of the projects finished in time.”
Money is not an issue, according to the mayor. They have a loan worth $1.4 million ready to go.
Other outside factors are the problem.
“It’s the availability of equipment, manpower, permitting, the list is as long as a human leg,” he said. “It just goes on and on and on of why, not just us but many of the cities in Bay County, are unable to move forward with their projects.”
The mayor said the Parker public works department and emergency management firm CDR Maguire are planning to draft a letter to FEMA, requesting a deadline extension.
“We’re going to continue on with our projects, and when it comes time to draft a letter, if I need to sign a letter, or if we need to contact the governor, or whatever it is we need to do, we’re going to make sure that these projects are taken care of and properly funded,” Mayor Kelly said.
Mayor Kelly said he has no fears about the project— his only concern is losing the money.
However, he said it won’t stop the forward progression of the project.
“All of the people of Parker matter, and we’re going to everything that we can to do whatever it is we have to do to keep them safe and keep all the projects that they’ve asked for that are going to be taken care of,” Mayor Kelly said. “We’re going to absolutely continue to do that.”
The project plans are complete, and it is currently in phase one. FEMA will reportedly begin to reimburse the city as soon as they start phase two, according to Mayor Kelly.