West Florida RPC Assists with Hurricane Recovery
Hurricane Michael was the most devastating storm to impact Florida’s Panhandle, leaving previously unknown destruction in a large portion of the West Florida RPC region. The RPC has been active in the hurricane recovery efforts, finding many ways to help those who are hurting in the region. Staff assisted in establishing and managing operations of a host shelter in Okaloosa County, serving as a point of contact for the dissemination of updated information online while arranging and facilitating meals and sorting incoming donations. The West Florida RPC’s State Housing Initiative Program’s staff initiated enacting revisions in Holmes and Washington counties’ disaster strategies within their respective Local Housing Assistance Plans to assist communities affected by the storm.
WFRPC GIS staff, Jessica Paul with stress relief therapy dog.
Florida RPC staff also provided relief staffing support at the Bay County Emergency Operations Center. Additionally, members of the transportation, GIS, economic development, and public involvement staff conducted an initial assessment of the Bay Town Trolley transit routes. They provided an interactive status report which helped to determine a feasible plan for route reinstatement in the early stages of the recovery process. Initial assessment of transit stops (shown above) revealed moderate to extensive damage at most locations.
Staff continues to reach out and respond to requests for assistance as this part of the region struggles to rebuild, restore, and return to normalcy. The West Florida RPC pledges to move forward with concern and compassion for all those affected by this disaster as we uphold our mission to preserve and enhance the quality of life in northwest Florida.
Tampa Bay RPC Creates Regional Resiliency Coalition
Congressman Charlie Crist with Tampa Bay RPC Deputy Executive Director Wren Krahl and Tampa Bay RPC Executive Director, Sean Sullivan.
What does it take to get five county commissions and nearly 20 cities across the Tampa Bay region to agree upon controversial topics like sea-level rise and climate change? Created by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition is a natural outgrowth, said Regional Planning Council Executive Director Sean Sullivan. “As one of our members from the City of Clearwater told us, ‘preparing for sea-level rise really is a no-brainer.’
Charter members of the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition include Pinellas, Hillsborough, Citrus, Hernando and Manatee counties and the cities of Palmetto, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Sarasota, Clearwater, Dunedin, Gulfport, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Largo, Madeira Beach, New Port Richey, Oldsmar, Redington Beach, Safety Harbor, Seminole, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach, Tarpon Springs and Treasure Island. On October 8th, these local governments came together to sign a historic Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to address the economic and environmental impacts of climate change.
The Coalition’s future efforts will be based on scientific data and lead by a technical advisory committee which includes some of the nation’s most respected researchers and local experts. These efforts are further fueled by the collective realization that a regional coalition could accomplish far more than an individual city or initiative. Congressman Charlie Crist, whose Pinellas district encompasses many beach communities, attended the standing-room-only ceremony where 24 governments signed the Agreement. Along with counties and cities, the coalition includes a remarkable group of stakeholders from local and state colleges and cities, business leaders and church groups concerned about leaving a livable state for their children.
North Florida RPC Director Elected President of National Association
Scott Koons, Executive Director of the North Central Florida RPC was elected as President of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) in October at NADO’s Annual Training Conference held in Charlotte, North Carolina. As President, Director Koons will work with the NADO Board of Directors which oversees the association’s budget and operations and develops policy on issues affecting regional development organizations. NADO was founded in 1967 to provide training, information, and representation for regional development organizations throughout the United States. Today, NADO member organizations serve local governments and the public within their regions through various programs focused on diversifying local economies, assisting businesses, creating jobs, and providing vital community services.
“We are honored to have Scott Koons serve as President of our national association. Scott brings a wealth of expertise, knowledge, and leadership on regional community and economic development issues to the national level,” stated Joe McKinney, NADO Executive Director. “Most importantly, he is focused on helping our nation’s local communities pursue comprehensive regional strategies for remaining economically competitive in today’s rapidly changing global environment.”