NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — Seven people died when Hurricane Ian hit North Port nearly a year ago.
The hurricane caused a significant amount of damage in the community, which it’s still trying to recover from, according to city officials.
“We made a lot of progress, but we have a long way to go,” said North Port City Manager Jerome Fletcher.
Officials said extreme wind gusts and widespread flooding exposed problems with the city’s infrastructure.
“We are in the middle of doing a design of the widening of price from two lanes to four lanes, but Ian taught us that we need to harden those water crossings,” said Assistant City Manager Jason Yarborough.
Four waterway crossings on Price Boulevard became impassable due to damage from the storm. The city is working to improve them.
“This won’t be our last hurricane, I’m not saying we’ll see something like Ian again, but they’ll know when that main transportation corridor stays open and viable,” Yarborough said.
Some city buildings also sustained damage from Ian. The Utilities Department Administration building, and Parks and Recreation Maintenance facility were destroyed. Those employees are working out of temporary trailers.
“They’re going to be two years at least out before their new buildings are complete,” Fletcher said.
The city has received over $27 million from FEMA for recovery efforts, and leaders say an additional $15 million is in the process of being reimbursed.