MANATEE COUNTY – Community leaders, pastors and concerned citizens gathered Wednesday night (January 24, 2024) at the Bible Baptist Church of Palmetto to talk about ways to support this historic—and historically flood prone—community.
Manatee County partnered with the Salvation Army, American Red Cross and FEMA to help residents in the aftermath of Hurricanes Ian and Idalia and even a recent no-name storm, but leaders are seeing a need to provide proactive measures.
“We have to face the challenges of flooding in that area because it’s a low area,” said Manatee County District 3 Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge. “And as we’re getting higher and higher tides, it’s becoming a more prominent problem in Rubonia.”
Manatee County Public Safety Director Jodie Fiske addressed the Rubonia Resilience Summit with plans to bring emergency preparedness training into the community, as well as working with Public Safety to form a robust County support team.
“We’re talking about how we can better engage the community and get to a point where they are really proactive with us in public safety and emergency management to be self-sufficient,” said Fiske.
The County has committed to continuing meeting with the community to help provide training and education. The idea is that this participation from the neighborhood will ensure local support so that there is not a heavy dependence on outside entities.
“Our hope here is to build the conversation so that we can support our own communities instead of having someone come in to support us,” said Tarnisha Cliatt, President/Founder & CEO of the Manasota Black Chamber of Commerce, who helped coordinate this summit. “This engagement of the community is key for all participants.”
“I understand the importance of community pride,” said Commissioner Van Ostenbridge, “and the importance of ensuring that your community survives.”
See the video clip and learn more about the Rubonia Resilience Summit