PARKER, Fla. — Officials at Parker Sports Complex in Parker, Fla. have recently been facing community backlash over rebuilding. After the complex was destroyed three years ago due to Hurricane Michael, the fact whether to rebuild was not the question—it was when.
However, city residents are getting antsy as three years have passed by and no rebuilding efforts have been made. Parker’s Mayor Andrew Kelly says, “people are well aware we are going to go by the October deadline. The FEMA reimbursements that were given to us are going to come and go, and we will not have all the projects finished in time.”
Even though complex leaders have held meetings, residents are not seeing anything productive happen.
“Money is not an issue for us, we have $1.4 million ready to go,” says Kelly. “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.”
Kelly also said to a local news outlet that 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.”
While Kelly is still hoping the project happens in time, he says nothing will stop the rebuilding.
“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. 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.”