As Governor Seeks Disaster Dec, Fort Lauderdale Needs New City Hall After Flood

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis asked the Biden administration on Saturday to declare Broward County a disaster area due to flooding earlier this month after record rainfall. The flooding, from record rainfall, was so great that it will likely force Fort Lauderdale to find a new home for city hall.

If the federal disaster declaration is granted, the declaration would make Broward residents who incurred damage to their homes and other property eligible for a wide range of loans and other assistance. Local governments would also be eligible.

The flooding also closed the airport for almost two days. Gas deliveries to the port were also slowed, causing long lines at the pump.

The Republican governor is expected to soon announce that he will seek his party’s nomination to challenge President Joe Biden in next year’s election.

While frequently sniping at each other, the Democratic president and the governor have seen their administrations work together after disasters. That includes last year’s Hurricane Ian, which killed more than 140 people and left thousands homeless, and the 2021 collapse of a condo tower in Surfside, which killed 98.

In Fort Lauderdale, floodwaters reached 8 feet deep in the basement of city hall, destroying mechanical and electrical equipment, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper. To keep the building operating with the use of diesel-fueled generators will cost as much as $50 million, officials said. Keeping the building open will also require extensive mold remediation work.

The city has already planned to replace the building and will be better off moving city offices to another site and knocking down the blocky office building, the mayor told the newspaper. A vacant Kaplan University structure may be a temporary headquarters, officials said.

Photo: Fort Lauderdale City Hall in better days. (City of Fort Lauderdale)

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