HAWTHORNE ‒ The City of Hawthorne recently received a grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for $500,000. The funding will allow Hawthorne to install green infrastructure stormwater gardens, also known as rain gardens, on Southeast 221st Street (Johnson Street).

The grant will also allow the city to add curbs and gutters to the existing roadway. Landscaping and stormwater gardens will go into the unused areas of downtown as well.

The grant will enable the city to take another step toward the vision its citizens have for the downtown area and attract more businesses to that part of town.

In addition to helping to beautify the downtown, this project is a benefit to the environment as well. “Instead of sending the runoff out to the lake and draining it out in the wetlands, the gardens will help filter the water before it goes into the stormwater system,” said Mayor Matt Surrency.

Residents, commission and staff conducted a visioning workshop approximately seven years ago. “This is continuing the vision of what we’ve done in downtown already,” Surrency said. “We have a vision of what we want to see downtown look like. This is just another component of that vision.”

Surrency said the city has about 30 grants in process at any one time. “Some may be starting. Some are almost finished. We go after any grants that we feel we are qualified to submit on in order to help us accomplish the city’s vision,” he said.

One of the things the city did prior to submitting the grant was to complete the design process. “That gave us some extra points and makes it so that we can hit the ground running with the bidding process.”

Surrency is hopeful that they can quickly go out to bid and begin implementing the project by the end of the year. However, it is unknown at this time when the project will be completed.

The city is currently working with engineers and FDEP to begin the next steps in the procurement and bidding process.

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