October 25, 2019
Let me offer a brief update on a variety of current projects.
Marina repairs- The southern breakwater or attenuator, what Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials have designated as Project A, has been installed. The pile caps on the new pilings have to be installed. The most significant task remaining on the attenuator is the installation and testing of the utilities. FEMA officials have been provided additional documents related to the project.
The replacement of the northern attenuator, FEMA Project B, is in the final stages of review before soliciting bids. The City authorized the purchase of the replacement sections (which will match the appearance of the southern sections), so the engineering and fabrication of those elements has begun.
Since the water is deeper at the north end of the Marina, the pilings will have to be longer than the southern pilings- likely one hundred feet long versus the south’s eighty. An earlier effort to acquire solely the pilings was unsuccessful, so the anticipated Invitation to Bid will likely include the procurement of the pilings in addition to the installation of the pilings and attenuator sections.
The southern basin project- the dredging and the realignment of the interior docks- is not related to the FEMA attenuator projects (which has had to have been stressed repeatedly numerous times to FEMA officials). While the City expects significant reimbursement through FEMA and the State of Florida for the attenuator projects, the southern basin project is funded solely by the City with additional grant funding from the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND). As with the southern attenuator, the most significant task remaining on the southern docks is the installation and testing of utilities.
At this time, the intent is to open the southern portion of the Marina for operations as soon as the utilities have been installed and adequately tested. At the impending Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show next week, Westrec staff will announce the tentative operational date to be March 1, erring on the side of caution, but with the hopes that the operational date will be earlier.
Waterfront development- Several key players are tentatively scheduled to attend the November 19 City Commission meeting. Representatives of Passero Associates, the consultant tasked by the City Commission to offer insight and options for the City’s Amelia River shoreline, will provide an update on their efforts. The general intent is to develop plans to protect the waterfront and downtown areas from flood events such as tidal and storm surges, hurricanes, and sea level rise.
The City Commission authorized me to work with representatives of Marquis, Latimer & Halbeck, a landscape architect consultant to oversee the develop of the park component of the waterfront. Marquis, Latimer & Halbeck will lead a steering committee comprised of the chairperson of several City boards to bring the park element to fruition. Representatives of Marquis, Latimer & Halbeck are also expected to be at the November 19 City Commission meeting.
Ayres, Inc. is the engineer consultant tasked with reviewing the traffic flow and configuration of Front Street, specifically from Alachua Street to Ash Street. With the anticipated installation of new railroad safety signals at Ash Street and Center Street (funded by the Florida Department of Transportation) and the contemplated re-opening of Alachua Street, significant consideration has to be given to the orientation of Front Street, most importantly because the area in which to work is quite narrow to fit traffic, parking, sidewalks, and other components such as utilities and signage. Representatives of Ayre, Inc. have been invited to the November 19 meeting. That date will provide the first opportunity for the consultants to have a face-to-face coordination meeting.
Florida Public Utilities officials will also be involved, as included in this year’s budget is the transition of the N. Front Street utilities from overhead to underground services.
Fire Station No. 2- Also included in this year’s budget (continuing the effort that began last year) is the conceptual design of a new fire station. The general location of the new fire station has been selected (just of Amelia Parkway on Airport Road, east of the City’s terminal building) and City staff has reviewed some preliminary floor plans for the facility. Additional comments will be solicited from City staff, with the intent to present the conceptual plans early next calendar year. The goal would then be to complete construction by 2021 and occupy and operate the facility by 2022.
City Hall- An architect is currently reviewing several options for housing city government operations: renovating the existing site and building, acquiring and renovating the United States Postal Service facility (not a likely candidate due to the lack of response from postal officials), renovating the Peck Center, or the construction of a new facility. After preliminary consideration to each of those sites has been offered, a preferred option will be further examined.
Several other projects continue under the direction and oversight of City staff and I will provide updates on those projects in the future.
Instead of looking for site to build a building for government offices. How about investing in a building already standing. There are empty building all over this island. Be wise.