Release Date: March 24, 2021
Release Number: NR 493
GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico— The José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum and Bahía Urbana, two of the most important venues dedicated to promoting the arts and entertainment sector in Puerto Rico, can return to their previous state before Hurricane María thanks to an obligation of nearly $6.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
These federal funds will help the facilities be better prepared to face future disasters. In the case of the iconic José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum, known as the “Choliseo”, the allocation of approximately $4.9 million is earmarked for permanent works.
“The reconstruction of these sites is part of the recovery of Puerto Rico’s economic sector; it also sets us on the road to a future where our structures are more resilient. Undoubtedly, these funds will help to develop a sector that contributes so much to us,” said the said the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico, José G. Baquero.
According to the Convention District management, who oversees both facilities, the entertainment industry in Puerto Rico produces nearly $2 billion per year and generates approximately 30,000 direct and indirect jobs annually.
Some of the works to be funded by this federal obligation include the removal and replacement of glass panels, sound equipment, fire alarms and acoustic ceilings, among others. In addition, $13,000 was earmarked for upgrading their lighting fixtures with surge protectors and replacing existing ceiling panels with water-resistant units.
Mariela Vallines Fernández, executive director of the Puerto Rico Convention District Authority, said the impact of the federal obligations is significant. “These facilities compete on a global level when people decide where they want to travel to and visit; they are factors that they consider, seeing that these facilities are in good condition. And for us to be able to present first class facilities to these tourists, means that we can compete on an equal footing with any other tourist destination,” she said.
In addition, Vallines Fernández explained that other industries also benefit indirectly, including transportation, construction and food related, to mention a few.
On the other hand, Bahía Urbana, a modern concept spanning some 87 acres of waterfront outdoor space and an area for artistic events, was awarded $1.6 million. These funds are earmarked for repairs for the water fountain pumping system, resin floors, cobblestones and electrical wiring in the dock area, among other things.
Engineer Manuel A. Laboy Rivera, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience, or COR3, welcomed the obligation of these funds, earmarked for the infrastructure renewal of these two important venues that foster cultural development and attract both foreign and local tourists.
“We are certain that the attendance at these venues, which promote cultural activities, will surpass their pre-Covid-19 pandemic peak once its spread is controlled. At COR3 we will support the Puerto Rico Convention District Authority staff in the recovery of these iconic sites,” concluded the engineer.
[Video] To learn more about the recovery of the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum and Bahía Urbana, click here.
For more information on Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane María, visit fema.gov/disaster/4339 and recuperacion.pr. Follow us on our social networks at Facebook.com/FEMAPuertoRico, Facebook.com/COR3pr and Twitter @COR3pr.