Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Federal disaster aid could help fund Bishop Creek repairs

This is a view of the Keller family’s property in Safety Harbor, where Bishop Creek flowed into the back yard after a rainstorm. Heavy rain during Tropical Storm Debby washed out retention walls and brought down fencing in back yards along the creek.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

This is a view of the Keller family’s property in Safety Harbor, where Bishop Creek flowed into the back yard after a rainstorm. Heavy rain during Tropical Storm Debby washed out retention walls and brought down fencing in back yards along the creek.

SAFETY HARBOR — City officials are hopeful that federal dollars funneling into Florida in the wake of Tropical Storm Debby will make it easier to fund repairs to property along eroding Bishop Creek.

This week Pinellas County was added to a list of Florida counties eligible for federal Public Assistance grants for damage related to the storm, which raked Florida's west coast in late June.

Local governments must apply for the funding, which can be used for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and repair and replacement of damaged publicly owned facilities.

But city officials' hope that some money might be available for Bishop Creek repairs was tempered with caution.

"It's not like Pinellas County got a truck of money in," said Brad Purdy, public communications manager for Safety Harbor. "I really don't think the process changes all that much."

On Monday night, the Safety Harbor City Commission approved $150,000 in repairs to a residential property damaged by Bishop Creek erosion. After the meeting, the city decided to add another $100,000 worth of repairs to other spots up and down the 14-mile creek.

City officials planned to seek reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist with those costs, but the reimbursement process can be laborious and take years.

That the federal government has stepped up to offer funding to Florida counties may make the process easier. A FEMA applicant's briefing will be held in the weeks to come, when local governments will learn what they have to do to apply for funding. Meanwhile, Joan Keller, 76, owner of the Safety Harbor property slated to receive most of the immediate repairs, said the damage is getting worse every rainy day.

"After yesterday's rain, that part of the back yard ... has dropped another five or six inches," Keller said Thursday.

But Mayor Andy Steingold said the announcement should be encouraging for those who live along the creek.

"The potential is great, especially in that one area that we're going to attempt to remediate immediately," he said.

Keller said she won't know what to think until the city begins repairs to her back yard.

"I think we're getting to be in an emergency situation," she said. "The rain's not going to stop."

Andy Thomason can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or [email protected] To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Federal disaster aid could help fund Bishop Creek repairs 07/19/12 [Last modified: Thursday, July 19, 2012 7:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. With Vegas in mind, officers conduct active shooter training at Tampa International Airport

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Black marked the dead.

    After everyone ran away and was cleared out, two people remained on the ground, playing dead between baggage carousels nine and 10. Firefighters tied black ribbons around their wrists during triage, a quick way to tell other first responders not to waste time on them. Luggage …

    Mock "active shooter" D.J. Colestock, corporal with the Tampa International Airport police, is apprehended by TIA police officer Tom Olsen, right, on Wednesday  during an active shooter training exercise at the airport in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  2. Dirk Koetter, not Jameis Winston, has to make the call

    Blogs

    “Touchdown” Tom Jones, the best Bucs columnist in town, htook it to the house Tuesday when he wrote that Jameis Winston should do the right thing and take a seat if he’s not perfectly healthy to play at Buffalo.

    Dirk Koetter and Jameis Winston
  3. This is no time for Jameis Winston to play hero

    Bucs

    Don't be a hero, Jameis.

    Do the right thing. Do what's best.

     Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sits on the bench during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) 700070683
  4. NBA off and running to its usual ending

    Blogs

    The NBA season began Tuesday night.

    It ends in June.

    Call me when the Warriors win.

    True, there was news Tuesday night, bad news, grisly news, as Celtics small forward and newcomer Gordon Hayward dislocated his ankle and broke his tibia in a look-away injury early in Boston’s opener at LeBron.

    Call me when the Warriors win, Martin Fennelly writes.
  5. It's time for the Dodgers to be back in the World Series

    Blogs

    It’s hard to believe that it’s been 29 years since the Los Angeles Dodgers made the World Series. That’s far too long. I still remember being at Chavez Ravine for the 1988 World Series, watching Kirk Gibson homer into the right field stands to beat the Oakland A’s in Game 1.

    Been a long …

    The Los Angeles Dodgers congratulate each other after beating the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series