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Palm Coast Favors $6 Million Reconstruction of Public Works Facility Off U.S. 1 Over 5 Years

| December 6, 2016

palm coast public works

Palm Coast’s Nestor Abreu, in the foreground, giving City Council members a tour of the 10-acre public works facility off U.S. 1 last week. (© FlaglerLive)

Palm Coast City Council members this evening are expected to approve an $89,000 contract with a Jacksonville firm that will analyze how and where to expand and modernize the city’s public works facility on U.S. 1. That initial contract is only a small step in a much larger plan—a five-year, nearly $6 million reconstruction of that public works facility.

Spending the money there means it’ll be subtracted from more visible capital improvements around the city, such as roads, trails, parks and the like. But council members, all of whom visited the public works facility last week, find improvements there essential, and if anything, say the five-year plan is too drawn out.

“To me it’s ridiculous that we don’t actually move forward and spend the money doing it,” Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland said. When she asked members of the council if there were objections to the project being in the five-year capital spending plan, she heard none. “We all see the need for it immediately, if not sooner. We can talk about what that looks like moving forward.”

“Will this make us faster, stronger, better?” Council member Nick Klufas asked. City Manager Jim Landon said there are no specific measures for that, at least not now. But Klufas was interested in those metrics. He did not appear opposed to the project, however.  

“If you approve this contract, yes, you are giving us the green light to move forward with this multi-year project,” Landon said.

The facility is located along Wellfield Grade, on the west side of U.S. 1 not far north of Palm Coast Parkway. It’s not readily visible to the public. The city likes it that way: it’s a place of work, but not a public place.

“You all represent the community very well, I must say, because most of the community doesn’t know where public works, is,” Landon told council members last week, shortly after they had all returned from their excursion to the site. Klufas had mistaken another location for the public works site, and sought directions from Holland, then Landon, by phone, before making it to Wellfield Grade. “And for those of you that had a tough time finding it this morning,” Landon continued, “you weren’t the only ones, the others just happened to ask earlier as to how to get there. The point being that most people see our crews out, but they really don’t know where they call home, and that’s OK.”

Public works occupies 7 acres of the 10-acre property along U.S. 1. The three unused acres are to its south. Those acres are just beginning to see some activity, with public works crews straining for more space. There’s also a 5-acre parcel to the north of the property, across Wellfield Grade, that’s also city-owned.

The hub that keeps Palm Coast’s infrastructure functioning needs its own reinvention.

The city acquired the facility from county government in 1999, when Palm Coast incorporated. It’s not been much improved since. That’s where the city stores and maintains its road equipment, paving and construction equipment, traffic signals, mowers, stormwater drainage equipment, and other hardware typical of public works. It’s where even fire trucks are maintained and repaired. It’s where the innumerable crews that run all those operations are based, too—34 parks and landscape equipment operators, 20 stormwater equipment operators, 32 streets-equipment operators, and so on. Some 220 “light” trucks and vehicles are parked there, as 79 mowers and 352 pieces of heavy equipment, large trucks, backhoes and so on, and 700 pieces of hand-held equipment such as chainsaws and weed-whackers.

As council members discovered firsthand, walking the grounds, some buildings are better than others. Some of the administrative staff works out of a trailer—ironically, the sort of construction not allowed in the city.  Storage is limited, some of it dependent on aged wooden structures. There are training and meeting rooms, but the size is limiting. Same with parking: there are four designated parking spaces but 104 employees. It’s not that there isn’t space for that overflow—there is, but it’s more makeshift than paved. The department wants to improve all that, and add such things as an emergency shelter, as when there’s a major storm and critically needed employees need to be sheltered.  

public works

The public works facility’s long list of responsibilities includes maintaining the city’s fire trucks, but in cramped spaces. Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

After a weeding process that looked at various firms, the city administration picked Jacksonville-based Bergmann Associates on a proposed $89,000 contract to analyze the facility, speak with workers, and come up with a plan on how to reinvent it. That’s the contract council members would be approving this evening.

A Bergmann Associates official said its consultants have worked on 235 similar projects, and currently have St. Johns County Public Works under construction.

“Our Team has also found that the most effective way of creating this participatory environment is through the on-site session,” the Bergmann Associates work proposal states, “an intensive, week-long session in which we gather together at the project site or at a facility as close to Palm Coast and users as possible, to actively study, plan, and design the project. The on-site process is a way to consolidate into one or more work sessions what normally takes weeks, or even months, to accomplish. It is also an excellent vehicle to bring together the Team members in one location to brainstorm ideas. The process is focused upon balance, so that solutions represent equal input from Palm Coast, the user, our planners, designers, and other key participants.”

The sum total is called a “master plan” in the lingo of government projects.

“We don’t want to build bays just to build bays, we want to continue with a system of rotation where we’re utilizing the facilities to meet our needs today, and then sort of grow as we need it,” Holland said.

“That’s what the master plan will identify,” Nestor Abreu, who oversees public works and who guided council members through their tour, said. “They will design it so that you can grow.”

The master plan would then be integrated with the city’s long-term capital improvement plan. The projected price tag: $200,000 in fiscal year 2020, which would cover the cost of designing the improvements, and $2.7 million in construction costs in 2021 and again in 2022. That, anyway, is what the current five-year plan calls for.

The only objection to the approach, among council members, was its long range.

“I just want to be careful we don’t come with something that has a very high price tag and takes many years,” Council member Steven Nobile said. “It seems essential that we have some changes out there, and we don’t want to say, well, because of the cost of this master plan, it’s going to take us out about six years to complete.” He added: “I was out there today and it seems like God was there at the last hurricane that that thing is still there, most of it anyway, and I don’t know, it might rain tomorrow and the whole thing might go that’s it, I’m done.”

The Public Works Master Plan Proposal.

8 Responses for “Palm Coast Favors $6 Million Reconstruction of Public Works Facility Off U.S. 1 Over 5 Years”

  1. palmcoaster says:

    Six millions for a Public Works facility that will be mostly warehouses and one large repair shop as the administrative office area is rather small maybe for about 6 to 8 administrative employees?
    I even know our Public Works facility location and we get new councilmen elected that don’t even know the location? Much less they are going to be aware or question the high the cost, then!
    Public works needs to go and redo the proper work in the last section of the Linear Park before the Intracostal were they dumped gravel coated with oil trying to cover cracks of the walkway asphalt that ruin our baby strollers wheels, shoes and dogs paws as the gravel painfully sticks to us all while walking. This tells me that before they spend 6 millions on their facility of our hard earned taxes they need to fix our failing infrastructure that we use daily they way our taxes pay for it!
    This is our beloved walkway for walkers, joggers and cyclist that was never appreciated to beloved former councilman Jerry Full that ardently fought for and preserved for us all and now the sloppy dumping of gravel coated with oil makes it a mess to walk in.
    By the way when are we going to honor Jerry Full battle to preserve our Linear Park for us from developers and name it Jerome “Jerry” Full Park? He was an environmentalist, Audubon member and promoter for the culture and arts in Palm Coast, that fought hard to preserve what today is Linea Park and Water Front Park connected too. This request was made before to Netts and the past council to no avail.
    How come former Mayor Canfield got a restaurant named after him and councilmen Mr. Carter and Mr. Holland parks named after them but has been ignored the request to name Linear Park after Jerry Full when we have it and enjoy it thanks to Jerry? Jerry passed away at 86 and we sure we missed him in our county and city meetings fighting to preserve from powerful developers what today is Linear Park, Water Front Park and Long Creek Nature Preserve. Lets give credit and honor when deserved and city officials please name Linear P. “Councilman Jerry Full Park and he will smile to us from above!

  2. john dolan says:

    The facility is long overdo an upgrade. It should be a green footprint with solar or geothermal for energy. The fleet and all city vehicles should be natural gas or electric.

  3. Ramone says:

    Way to go Palm Coast. You can’t go wrong upgrading your facilities and infrastructure.

  4. Jw says:

    Ramon’s and John Dolan need to open their eyes. Open fenced land and warehouse space with built out offices shouldn’t cost 6 million dollars. I’m tired of seeing Palm Coast being ran like New York. Need and want are two different things. At its simplest form we are talking about a place to house and repair trucks and equipment. Equipment that gets parked outside. The offices aren’t supposed to be judges chambers. Good luck.

  5. PJ says:

    They need it and it is a great project!

  6. Dee Griggd says:

    Will i know the City will spend it somewhere
    As i live on Zebulahs Trial in Quail Hollow.
    During Hurricane Matthew we were without power for 5 days zs well as the Sewer Pump House a few doors down from me.
    Normally a genetator would be set up to ensure things continue to opetate as normal with sewage in the area. There was somehow an oversight and no generator
    On day 5 their was a parade of big trucks to pump out the sewer pump house as well as the overflow into the creek. My son stayed over during the hurricane it was a little scarry i had gone through some in Miami growing up. On one morning after Matthew my son woke up to water in the bedroom floor as well as the bathroom floor. At first he wondeted if it was from the commode furthet inspection and he found it was coming from the wall. We checked the bedroom on the back of the house it had the most water ,we got that cleaned up and my son walked down the street and talked to one of the city workers thst drove one of the pump trucks. The man enlightened my don what was going on and walked back to our house whete my son showed him where the water was coming in and told him about the water both rooms we had found other than the bathroom. The man told my son what he thought had happenedThat a pipe had cracked somewhere during the backup. Gave my son his supervisor number.
    I called Palm Coast Water Depadtment the next morning told them what was going on they advised me not to stay in the house. I had no where to go and stayed. They mailed me a claim form i filled it in and took it to City Hall.
    They denied it but sent it onto Orlando for furthet evaluation . F.E.MA. came, had an i pad nothing to messasure moisture or check for lesks or check for mold. The Insurance Adjustor came the following day she had some type of tool that meazured moisture. The back bedroom reading waz 89.something % the front bedroom 18 or 19.something % intetest moisture level. I received a letter from F.E.M
    A. Denying my claim i appeal giving them the readings the insureance adjustor got. Again i was denied told to get estimates for repair. I don’t know the extent of the leaks. The adjustor was finally able to arrange for my homeowners to pay for leak detectors to come out, i am quite ill my SS goes to my liliving expense ,my doctors and my medications. I dont have money to go explore pipes broken during a hurricane when the pump station wasnt running. I did all i could at my house. No dishes were washed. Throw away cups starfoam plates,bottled water, concern water i was taught as a kid. I had bottles of water stocked up. The gallon bottles for whatever emergency we encounter.Orlando Utilities took over the claim. The first time i spoke to a specific lady there she reported to me thete had been no incident such as i described in Palm Coast that made me a little upset i assured her there definiely was. The lady said maybe she had contacted the wrong city.
    I told her Flagler County ,the City of Palm Coast. She inquired again and we played phone tag. Then when the man came out just last week from a leak detector company out of Daytona he found no leak in the toilet or with the pipes to the toilef. He did have a tool that showed purple with moisture in the walls .Afain the back bedroom had the highest reading.
    The man looking for the leak took the hardware off in the shower put a metal snake like thing thst is a camera intk there until he could reach pipe and find an area leaking.
    He suceeded.Yes there is a cracked pipe how far it goes he dosent know. What i know is Hurricane Matthew occured around the first week of October 2016. I believe. The only helpful person has been the insurance adjustor trying to get an override on deductibles to get leak detections companies out hete to find out. I believe it is 2 months later. I think i am living in a SICK HOUSE being tossed around like a football while people try putting respondibility other places , protecting their turtles but a human life and that of my little dog dont count. The trucks were out here pumping out the sewage waste station that overflowed even into the creek. My neighbors are willing to sign statements to that effect.
    I am tired i am sick ,i do not understand why a Govermental or City Office is going to flat out lie to me. Whatever is going on with their cracked pipes isnt getting bettee the floor is changingbin the dining room area. What has happened that there is no one hardly to trust. And i read where the city wants to spend a bulk of money doing what???

  7. Oldseadog says:

    Well Done palmcoaster—-“THEY” listened and corrected the miserable first job of filling in the cracks
    on our wonderful Linear park trail. I’m sure Jerry Full is looking down from above and smiling.

  8. palmcoaster says:

    Oldseadog appreciated!! If we do not work hard for change and ask for it, no positive change or improvements will take place. In our wondrous USA we can still ask and achieve some positive change sometimes.
    Can’t wait to walk and see it!! And if what you say is the reality and They fix it, “I sincerely appreciate our Council and Mayor for it”, as maybe they were not aware of the bad job done.
    Now what is only left incomplete if that our City Officials name Linear Park in Honor of Councilman Jerome “Jerry” Full that not only fought hard to preserve it for us but he enjoyed it with his beloved 4 legged companion in his last years in Palm Coast. Please Palm Coast Historical Society support this request.
    Thank you Jerry for our 3 parks (Linear, Water Front and Long Creek).

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