East Central Florida RPC Awarded Brownfields Grant
After years of collaboration, the East Central Florida RPC successfully received a major Brownfields Coalition Assessment Grant which will be implemented in the communities of Apopka, Eustis, Kissimmee and Longwood. The grant, awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will help ensure potential brownfields throughout the region are adequately addressed. The $600,000 grant will be used to identify suspected brownfields within the community.

Through a preliminary study conducted by East Central Florida RPC staff, more than one hundred potential brownfields sites were identified along the U.S. 441 corridor. A Brownfields Advisory Committee, made up of local stakeholders, will assist in identifying additional areas and will work as a liaison between the Council and local communities. The Advisory Committee is paramount to ensuring continued progress in the regional approach towards addressing brownfields spearheaded by the East Central Florida RPC. This grant award is the first step in the development of a strong regional brownfields program and helps expand the scope of economic development services provided by the Council to local governments and organizations within the region.
Apalachee RPC Develops Community Planning Toolkit
The Apalachee RPC recently developed a Community Planning Toolkit with grant funds provided by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The majority of local governments within the Apalachee Region are rural in nature with limited planning staff and resources. The Community Planning Toolkit provides a user-friendly resource to help these governments with growth management and community planning activities, such as Comprehensive Plan amendments, Land Development Regulation updates, Evaluation and Appraisal Reviews and zoning and future land use designation changes. Community planning activities are fundamental steps for rural communities as they strive to rebuild and increase resiliency following the destruction caused by Hurricane Michael in 2018 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Development of the Toolkit involved identifying community planning best practices and resources to assist local government staff with short- and long-term growth management activities. The Toolkit reviews the essential components of a comprehensive plan and its adoption and implementation process. The Toolkit also features a list of technical resources local governments may use when amending their comprehensive plan. The Community Planning Toolkit assists the rural governments in the Apalachee Region to be better equipped to plan for a sustainable future for their communities. To access the Toolkit visit the Apalachee RPC website at www.arpc.org.
Statewide Regional Evacuation Study Program
Continuing a longstanding partnership, the Florida Division of Emergency Management worked with the ten Regional Planning Councils to update the Statewide Regional Evacuation Study. With funding allocated from the State Legislature, regional planning council staff coordinated with local Emergency Management Directors, the Florida Department of Transportation, the National Hurricane Center and others to update components of the Study including the Behavioral Analysis, Shelter Inventory, Storm Surge Analysis and Demographic Data.

The Storm Surge Analysis provides data to local emergency management officials to validate and update regional evacuation zones. Data from the Study is used to model specific information such as evacuation clearance times, vulnerable populations and local shelter demand. This gives Emergency Managers needed information to make evacuation decisions in preparation for disasters. The Division of Emergency Management is maintaining the Regional Evacuation Study online at: www.floridadisaster.org/res.

Registration closes at 5 pm ET on Monday, Feb. 7.

April 5 - 6, 2022