Weekly comments from Dale Martin – Projects update

By Dale Martin
City Manager
Fernandina Beach
April 22, 2022

“The riverwalk extending south from the Ash Street boat ramp has been substantially completed and is available for public use.”

City Manager Dale Martin

Amelia River Riverwalk- The riverwalk extending south from the Ash Street boat ramp has been substantially completed and is available for public use. The shoreline stabilization effort to the west of the riverwalk is also substantially completed: oyster bags and grasses have been placed to reduce the effect of waves and erosion on the shoreline. The proposed petanque courts have yet to be constructed and work will not begin on those facilities until after next week’s Shrimp Festival.

Additional seawall/riverwalk efforts- Although the City has received State funding for engineering and design efforts for future phases of the shoreline effort, no additional funds are currently allocated for future construction. The State will likely have such funds available for competitive consideration, but in order to be eligible for those funds, State statutes now also require an extensive vulnerability assessment on the affected areas. The City has submitted a grant application seeking $120,000 to fund the vulnerability assessment. It is frustrating that so much of available grant funding- federal and state- is often more for “planning” rather than construction: communities across the country have a greater need for immediate building rather than endless studying.

Dredging- The limited dredging project at the south end of the Marina basin continues. The most significant aspect of the pace of the project is the lengthy travel necessary to dispose of the dredged material (to Jacksonville by barge). The City Commission, in the role of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), has instructed staff to solicit engineering qualifications for a flow study to determine, if possible, methods or techniques to reduce the need for future dredging.

Railroad crossings- The Ash, Centre, and Alachua Streets railroad crossing safety improvement project will not begin until after Shrimp Festival. In addition to the improvements at the crossings, fencing will be installed on the east side of the railroad tracks to prevent pedestrians from crossing the railroad tracks. The fencing will extend from Ash Street northward to Alachua Street.

City-owned riverfront properties- the City has contracted an appraiser to provide information related to ground lease rental rates for several properties. City staff is preparing a Request for Proposals for the City-owned property located at the foot of Alachua Street (commonly referred to as 101 N. Front Street).

Fire Station #2- An official groundbreaking ceremony was conducted yesterday at the construction site of the new fire station. This station will be constructed on Airport Road, just off of the Amelia Island Parkway. The fire personnel and equipment will be better positioned at this location to serve the City’s southern population. The Florida Department of Transportation is providing substantial funding for the project (and equipment) since the station will provide direct support for Airport operations.

Airport hangars- Several hangars are currently under construction and others are in the design/review stage. The waiting list for hangar space continues to grow at the Airport: nearly eighty applicants are on the list.

Golf Course- Tree trimming and sod efforts will begin shortly. New landscaping has been installed around the Toptracer facility. The emergence of spring grass throughout the course has been highly regarded.

Central Park playground– Planning continues for the reconstruction of the Central Park playground.

Beach renourishment- The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues its planning for the next beach renourishment project scheduled for next year.

Beach Access 6N- With the availability of funding now provided, construction of a beach walkover at Beach Access 6N will begin shortly. The City Commission has awarded the construction contract. The anticipated schedule of beach walkover construction was prepared by a Beach Access Review Committee and subsequently endorsed by the City Commission. The report of the Beach Access Committee is available on the City’s website.

Street resurfacing- The annual resurfacing/paving effort will begin in May. A list of the streets to be repaved is available on the City website and social media pages.

City staffing- The City has several available openings for staff, including for the many Ocean Rescue personnel needed to adequately patrol the City’s (and County’s) beaches. Job descriptions and applications are available on the City website.

Thank you for your interest and patience as these projects and efforts move forward.