Lakewood Ranch community won't apply for federal disaster aid

nwilliams@bradenton.comJuly 20, 2012 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- A Lakewood Ranch community development district agreed Thursday not to apply for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for damages caused by Tropical Storm Debby, though damages reached $20,000.

A playground area within Adventure Park in the Greenbrook village, which is governed by district 4, sustained heavy damage when it was covered in standing water by heavy rains from the storm, which destroyed padding and artificial turf in and around a playground area.

Lakewood Ranch maintenance staff had to re-move roughly $20,000 worth of turf and padding and replace it with playground certified mulch, which cost $3,000. Based on research by Lakewood Ranch staff, the district felt the extent of the damages did not warrant enduring the application process. The district

has replaced padding and turf around the playground three times since 2008 due to flooding.

Rather than reinstall turf and padding, the district will instead replace the mulch annually, said Ryan Heise, Lakewood Ranch operations manager.

The park is in a floodplain, meaning it was designed to absorb storm water to prevent flooding in residential areas of the community. Greenbrook received 12.5 inches of rain during the storm, according to Lakewood Ranch staff.

"It did what it was supposed do to," said Michael Griffin, district 4 chairman.

Earlier this month, Manatee County was among 20 counties in Florida initially approved to receive federal funds to pay for damages caused by the storm.

In other actions Thursday, the Lakewood Ranch Inter-district Authority approved orders to expedite the process of constructing a 6,675-square-foot, $2.2 million maintenance facility.

The board approved a motion to pursue a 12-year bank loan plan on the facility and approved expanding the design of the facility by 2,100-square-feet to include a drive-through bay, increased storage room and a covered parking area for vehicles. '

The alterations will cost the IDA an additional $200,000.

The IDA is in the process of purchasing five acres of land from Schroeder-Manatee-Ranch, the developer of Lakewood Ranch, at $25,000 per acre.

Preparing the site forconstruction will cost $525,179.

Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter: @_1NickWilliams.

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