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Escambia Continues to Rebound from Sally

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Tuesday afternoon’s briefing at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center reflected the progress, in which the county is rebounding from Hurricane Sally.

They may not be the final figures, but County Administrator Janice Gilley had some numbers on cleanup as the infrastructure gets back on line.

“To date, our assessments have determined that there are $182.6 million worth of damage to the city [of Pensacola], the county, the [Escambia] schools and the ECUA facilities,” said Gilley.

Before the briefing, Gilley spoke with state Emergency Director Jared Moskowitz, who told her he’s confident Northwest Florida will get a federal disaster declaration later this week. Meanwhile, a number of local and state governments are expected to discuss resuming ferry service to make up for damaged bridges in the area.

“As many of you know, it is a long way from our community, all the way around to Santa Rosa Island,” Gilley said. “And we have a lot of residents and a lot workers that are just not going to be able to spend hours and hours in traffic for a long number of months.”

But help may be floating by soon.

“We are looking to have a discussion with our operators of vessels that could have a ferry system set up,” said County Commissioner Robert Bender. “We are still evaluating the infrastructure to those, and I just ask for some patience as we work through it.”

The county’s two ferries that went into service in 2018 – Turtle Runner and Pelican Perch -- were heavily damaged by Sally, as was their home at the Port of Pensacola.  

Mayor Grover Robinson then took the podium, and once again stressed patience as the cleanup and restoration efforts continue.

“Please continue to contact us if you have things that you need us to know, and we’ll tell the proper utilities or the city departments, so that we can work with you to get something done,” said the mayor. “There’s a lot of work being done right now – we want to communicate that.”

Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Thomson said they stand ready to help residents dealing with damage to their homes and businesses.

“Take a picture, take some video – and your address – send it to us at news@pensacolachamber.com.

Thomson adds that damaged and otherwise impacted businesses need to fill out the Florida Business Survey at www.floridadisaster.biz.  That will help draw in some economic impact resources from Tallahassee.