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Bridgeport Wins $38 Million In Federal Funds For Flood, Disaster Protection

HUD Secretary Julian Castro shakes hands with Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim at the opening of Milestone Apartments last week. Thursday, he awarded the city $38 million in HUD funding.
HUD Secretary Julian Castro shakes hands with Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim at the opening of Milestone Apartments last week. Thursday, he awarded the city $38 million in HUD funding. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The city of Bridgeport will receive about $38 million of the $54 million awarded to Connecticut on Thursday for flood and disaster prevention projects.

“This is extremely good news for the city of Bridgeport and for our efforts to improve flood protection in the city's South End,” said Av Harris, the city’s director of communications. “Mayor (Joseph) Ganim was actually at the White House for the conference of mayors when he was pulled aside by federal officials and told the Bridgeport was to be receiving the lion share of this $54 million awarded to Connecticut, so he could not be happier with this result.”

The money is coming from a federal Housing and Urban Development competition for resilient infrastructure and housing projects.

The Bridgeport funds will support a pilot program of the Connecticut Connections Coastal Resilience Plan.

The money will, in part, improve flood protection in the city’s South End, which was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. The funds are expected to be used to elevate University Avenue and create a protective earthen berm against storm tides, construct a community center to be used for future recovery efforts and study the South End's infrastructure.

Other funds will support state efforts to extend the pilot program throughout coastal Connecticut regions, according to the HUD report.

HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who visited Bridgeport last week, and the Rockefeller Foundation announced $1 billion in awards to 13 states and communities through the National Disaster Resilience Competition.

“Climate change is real and we must think more seriously about how to plan for it,” Castro said during the announcement. “The grants we award today, and the other sources of capital these grants will leverage, will make communities stronger, more resilient and better prepared for future natural disasters such as floods and wildfires. The National Disaster Resilience Competition exemplifies how government can work hand-in-hand with the philanthropic and private sectors to create lasting partnerships that will allow us to together face the challenges of tomorrow.”

The Rockefeller Foundation worked closely with HUD and state and local governments to encourage and support a culture of resilience around disaster preparedness and planning in American communities.

“The National Disaster Resilience Competition demonstrated where we are moving as a country, embracing resilience as a way to build a better future,” said Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “The communities awarded funding through the competition – and in fact all those that competed – today have a greater awareness of their vulnerabilities and strengths and what they need to do to be ready for whatever comes their way. This is the heart of resilience.”

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