Hurricane Damaged Farmer's Market To Be Repaired
IMMOKALEE, FL. -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today announced that the federal government will soon release funds totaling more than $8 million to help rebuild portions of the Immokalee State Farmers' Market that were extensively damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which operates the market, had filed an appeal in 2008 with the Federal Emergency Management Agency contesting FEMA's initial estimate of the
''We're pleased with the favorable resolution of our appeal so that the rebuilding process can finally begin,'' Bronson said. ''The farming community in the Immokalee area depends on the infrastructure provided by this market facility. We plan to move forward as quickly as possible now that the impasse regarding funding has been resolved.''
The Immokalee Community Redevelopment Agency and the Florida Department of Emergency Management assisted FDACS in the appeal process.
The Immokalee State Farmers' Market has been serving this important agricultural area since 1951. Agricultural products -- composed primarily of tomatoes, watermelons and mixed produce -- are marketed seasonally from this facility. The destruction from Wilma has reduced the annual capacity of the market by almost half, down from $11 million to $6 million. Construction of new facilities and repair of damaged structures will restore the market to its pre-storm capacity, aiding in the marketing of crops grown in the region.