FEMA provides funds

Published 7:42 pm Thursday, December 27, 2007

Grants totaling more than $111 million have recently been approved for large projects in Mississippi to help the state recover from Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday.

The projects, costing $1 million or more, represent the wide variety of destruction caused by Katrina in August 2005, the agency said.

Some of the projects on the funding list include:

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—Replacing a fishing pier and rebuilding the community center in Biloxi.

—Removing silt and sand from a Gulfport harbor.

—Replacing the water distribution and sewer collection system in Waveland.

—Building a new school gym in Greene County.

—Repairing water service at Buccaneer State Park.

—Restoration work at the Beauvoir historical site.

FEMA said the other grants are for services necessary to respond to the disaster.

“The one good thing to come from this disaster is that all the new work will be done to current codes and standards which means it will often be stronger and better than what the storm destroyed,” Sid Melton, director of FEMA’s Mississippi Transitional Recovery Office, said in a statement.

Officials said the projects will be fully funded by FEMA’s Public Assistance program grants.

“In each case, FEMA works closely with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and local officials to assess the exact nature of the devastation and develop the best plan to address the issues,” James Walker, head of the recovery office’s Public Assistance section, said in the statement. “Based on this information and other data, FEMA, working with its local partners, then sets a grant amount to cover a project’s cost.

“We generally do not release these amounts publicly until all contracts for the work on a project have been awarded.”

Amounts for recent large projects — since Aug. 1, 2007 — range from $1 million to more than $30 million.