June 26, 2019

DeSantis signs bill to build hurricane evacuation center at Babcock Ranch

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

It will be Charlotte County’s only Red Cross approved hurricane shelter.

Monday, June 24th 2019, 6:03 PM EDT by Claire Lavezzorio


BABCOCK RANCH, Fla. – The state is committing to improving storm safety for Floridians.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill dedicating $8 million toward construction of the Southwest Florida Hurricane Evacuation Center at Babcock Ranch Friday.

Once complete, it will be Charlotte County’s only Red Cross approved hurricane shelter, sitting 25 feet above sea level.

Babcock Ranch is donating the land and contributing $7.7 million toward the project, which will have a build out time of 18 months.

“When we are invited to the table to be a part of a regional solution, we always want to step up and do that,” said Lucienne Pears, who handles economic development for Babcock Ranch.

The 75,000 square-foot facility will provide safe shelter for at least 2,500 evacuees in an area that is safe from storm surge, while filling a large deficit in shelter space across the county.

When not being used for evacuees, the building will be used as a field house. Programming for what we can expect there is still in the works.

“I think it will be interesting to see what will happen to the shelter when it’s not being used as a shelter,” said Babcock Ranch’s first homeowner Richard Kinley.
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