Where Are We Now?
It was understood from the beginning that completion of all phases would take well into the year 2023 especially with the strong confidence given to us that FEMA would complete their authorization and distribution of funds by late 2021. However, this did not materialize as the bureaucracy of the government’s systems creates a very lengthy process and slower even than what we imagined. While just over $1 million dollars has been received from FEMA so far, we still await tens of millions yet to be released by FEMA. We also are praising the Lord for generous gifts from individuals and foundations over the past two years, currently totaling over $1.5 million.
As the construction process went forward with exceptional speed, unfortunately, the process with FEMA was equally as slow. We eventually recognized we would use all our insurance funds by the end of 2021 forcing us to call for a work stoppage. Contractors responded graciously as we were able to pay every contract invoice to date. We rejoice to note all of Phase 1 was completed which included earthwork and “below-ground” infrastructure (storm water control, utilities, etc.) Some of Phase 2 also shows great progress with much of the recreational fields finished and base surfaces of parking lots installed. Phase 3 was initiated with foundation laid and steel framing for the first building erected.
Another disappointment occurred in the summer of 2022, as FEMA indicated they would not grant some funding of our damage. With help from professional contractors and legal counsel, we learned this is not unusual for FEMA and it would require us to enter a formal appeal. God had already led us to retain legal experts in dealing with FEMA and we prepared the appeal with support from the law offices of Baker-Donelson. The appeal was submitted in Fall of 2022, but a final decision is not likely until Fall of 2023. (For most recent news, see Highlights and Updates October 2023)