Santa Rosa RESTORE Projects to Be Reviewed

Aug 27, 2015

Credit Florida Dept of Environmental Protection

Santa Rosa County officials will go through a list of 15 project applications seeking part of 4.3 million dollars in RESTORE Act money from the BP oil spill.

The original 56 projects were scored and ranked by technical teams, with those offering sustainability and lasting impact making the cut.

“We reviewed the projects and went over the merits,” said Commissioner Lane Lynchard, a member of the RESTORE Council. “And focused in, not on any one particular category, but really tried to hit all under RESTORE. Tourism, water quality, economic development, or workforce development.”   

The trick was to whittle down more than $54 million in project applications to a number fitting the $4.3 million ceiling.  What made the cut is quite diverse -- from water quality enhancement and oyster restoration -- to technical education and job skills training.

The surviving projects include: $525,000 for dirt paving; $500,000 for upgrades at Quinn Street Marina in Milton, $368,000 for programs at Locklin Technical Center, and $300,000 for oyster bed restoration in Pensacola East Bay.

“There were several projects on that list I wish we could have funded fully at the outset,” said Lynchard. “And hopefully, we’ll be able to direct some more money towards those projects in the future. Most of the projects we’ve approved had a matching component.”

That’s an example, says Lynchard, of what they want to do with the BP money: give the county the most bang for the buck.

“Take the RESTORE dollars, get them matched up with other funds, where it’s private money coming, state money, or federal money,” Lynchard said.

The initial 4.3 million in funding is a small part of an estimated $20 million to $60 million that Santa Rosa’s expected to receive after all the spill-related penalties against BP are settled. Projects not selected this time may be considered for future rounds of RESTORE funding.

The 15 proposals will be considered by the County Commission on September 14. Then comes a 45-day public comment. The list is subject to change based on public input and further review.

More information on the 15 projects and the completed score sheets, are at www.santarosa.fl.gov/RESTORE.