In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and its effects on coastal communities, and with residents in Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay without electrical power for a week or more, local developer Lennar Homes assisted in a big way by providing tons of ice and gallons of water free of charge to residents.
“Lennar, with permission of Holy Rosary parish, distributed ice and water for residents of Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay the Friday after the storm,” said Cutler Bay Mayor Peggy Bell. “Members of both city councils, some staff, Lennar executives and employees, helped distribute from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It reminded me of Hurricane Andrew, when Lennar Homes came to help those of us with no homes days before the federal government. We were so grateful for that ice and water, just as these residents were.”
The large tractor trailer truck filled with ice and water parked on the grounds of the Holy Rosary St. Richard Catholic Church in Palmetto Bay for the distribution.
Cutler Bay Town Manager Rafael Casals was impressed by the act.
“It was wonderful that a private company did something like that to help out the community,” Casals said. “Everyone there getting ice and water appreciated it.”
Besides Mayor Bell, from Cutler Bay were Vice Mayor Sue Ellen Loyzelle and Councilmember Roger Coriat as well as Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn and Councilmembers Karyn Cunningham and David Singer there to assist, along with officials from Lennar Homes and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava.
“I was so pleased to be able to have the Village of Palmetto Bay participate in the partnership with Lennar Homes and the Town of Cutler Bay’s Vice Mayor Sue Loyzelle and Mayor Peggy Bell to distribute 60,000 pounds of ice to our South Dade Communities,” Cunningham said. “It could not have possible without Carlos Gonzalez, the Southeast Florida Division President for Lennar Homes. The residents were so appreciative of this joint collaboration that provided much needed post-Irma relief.”
Roughly a week after the hurricane, Palmetto Bay had almost 89 percent power restoration, but for many it was a difficult time.
“I think there are many lessons that will be learned and hopefully we will be working with FPL to bring about changes in power infrastructure,” Cunningham said. “Additionally, I think there needs to be a discussion regarding tree maintenance.
“While we dodged a huge bullet and did not face the full force of Irma, much of the damage that occurred was due to downed trees. Palmetto Bay has a tree maintenance plan but we need to be able to budget dollars if that is a priority of the village.” Cunningham praised village staff who took on the pre-Irma preparation and post-Irma cleanup.
“They have become like family to our residents. I think our residents are also amazing. In the past week, I have spoken to hundreds of residents as I traveled in the community,” she said. “They are amazing, resilient and have been extremely patient as we worked with FPL to restore power.”