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Bay County Races To Jump Start Economic Recovery After Hurricane Michael

In this Oct. 23, 2018 photo, Mark Ward surveys the destruction of his neighbor's mobile home in Bay County, Fla. Ward and his neighbors say that the rural parts of the county have seen little help since Hurricane Michael.
AP Photo
Tamara Lush

Bay County is trying to speed up its recovery from Hurricane Michael and it's reaching out for recommendations from businesses. 

Consultant Darryl Cox told a group of area business owners and residents it usually takes between 10 and 15 years for economic recovery to occur after a natural disaster. He says Bay County can shrink that timeframe by making the most of billions in untapped disaster recovery aid. 

"Every year I learn of some new funding source or tax credit. There’s always something new coming out," Cox said.

But first, the county has to come up with a plan.

“For our purposes, we’re going to come up with ideas that deal with recovery and rowing our economy. We’ll kick that up to the task force and they’ll go from there.," Bay County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Will Cramer told a group of people gathered to hear what the men had to say. 

Tuesday marked the launch of the Economic Recovery arm of the county’s long-term recovery task force. It’s has given itself six more weeks to come up with a plan that touches on housing, the economy, health and human services and cultural and natural resources.

The group is accepting ideas. 

Some proposals already being floated including expanding the county’s port and creating a downtown aquarium.  Ideas can be viewed and submitted online atRecoverBayCounty.com.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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