FEMA & state put Springfield rebuild projects on hold

 BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – The 6th anniversary of Hurricane Michael is just a few months away, but some areas are still trying to rebuild. Springfield officials lost almost every city building during Hurricane Michael. “They are the city hall complex, our nature trail and our stormwater, our civic center, and hopefully, we’re going to […] [[{“value”:”

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – The 6th anniversary of Hurricane Michael is just a few months away, but some areas are still trying to rebuild.

Springfield officials lost almost every city building during Hurricane Michael.


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“They are the city hall complex, our nature trail and our stormwater, our civic center, and hopefully, we’re going to have some funds left over for the Buddly McLemore Ballpark,” Springfield Mayor Ralph Hammond said.

City officials are venting their frustrations about how long it’s taking them to begin construction on new city facilities, and they are pointing the finger at FEMA and the state.

They’ve already had all the plans for replacements for more than a year.

“Our architect and engineers are done with the city complex and the civic center. We’ve got an engineer, and an architect selected already to do our ballpark,” Hammond said.

Springfield officials were even ready to go to bid, but Hammond said FEMA and the state are delaying the process.

“Every single project in the city of Springfield was put on hold. Even our state-funded project. We’re doing too much building, too much earth disturbance,” Hammond said.

Hammond said FEMA and the state are making the city jump through regulatory hoops to access their $31 million in funding.

“We did the environmental assessment for FEMA. They come in, we contacted ten tribes, we had to contact the Indian tribes out in Oklahoma, Mississippi, to actually get their permission,” Hammond said.


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Every time the city completes one task, they receive another.

“[FEMA] will not give you a checklist on we need this, this, and this. They’ll give you one item. You complete it, and then they’ll give you another item it’s aggravating, but I don’t want to make them mad and upset the money cart,” Hammond said.

Hammond said the city is ready to start building. They’re just waiting on FEMA and the state to release the money.

“We’re hoping before the 6th anniversary of the hurricane we’ll have something going. We can’t put a shovel in the ground or do anything until they give us the approval,” Hammond said.

Hammond said the city could start the project on their own, but the city is debt-free and he wants to keep it that way. If for some reason FEMA or the state denied funding, the taxpayers would be on the hook for those building costs.

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