Last month, wind, rain, and a powerful storm surge from Hurricane Ian cut a swath of destruction across the Florida peninsula. Particularly devastated were many of the cities and neighborhoods along the gulf coast that DPZ has been advising for over 30 years. DPZ wants to voice its concern for the well-being of our clients in that region, and wish a speedy recovery as they clean up, rebuild, and move forward. We realize it will be a long road.

Recovery and Support

While DPZ stands in solidarity with all the communities affected by this event as they recover, our hearts especially go out to our friends in Naples, Bonita Springs, and Ft. Myers. We know the immediate focus will continue to be the monumental clearing of debris and the restoration of services. This will be an involved process for many, especially the displaced and those whose livelihoods have been impacted.

Looking Ahead

The municipal teams we have advised are a smart and resourceful group and we have every confidence that they will provide the assistance and leadership their citizens need. When the time is right, DPZ stands ready to assist in the conversation that will no doubt follow on rebuilding strategies that strengthen infrastructure and improve resilience for the future.

In the meantime, we have already put our clients in touch with individuals familiar with the federal public assistance program. We have learned that it is very important to manage the early communication with FEMA carefully. The way applications are submitted can disqualify certain emergency expenditures from federal reimbursements. The proper application wording could also qualify communities for additional funding that could go beyond just replacing damaged assets. They can also enable more resilient, visionary projects and services down the line.

The initiatives that DPZ helped organize in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Katrina in 2005 yielded many other lessons. DPZ is committed to sharing these ideas to address the ever-intensifying environmental challenges while reinforcing the qualities that make great, nurturing places to live.