Commission updated on $12 million infrastructure projects

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Romi White

Santa Rosa County Grants Director Sheila Fitzgerald on Monday provided county commissioners with an update on grant-funded infrastructure projects totaling more than $12 million.

Through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which funds 75 percent of projects, there are five open grants focused on stormwater drainage improvements, including three projects in south Santa Rosa.

“We expect to receive approximately $9.1 million in federal mitigation funding over the next two years to complete construction on the five HMGP stormwater drainage projects. This will be supplemented by approximately $3 million in local matching funds,” Fitzgerald told South Santa Rosa News.

Fitzgerald said a $4.7 million project in Settlers Colony resulting from Tropical Storm Debbie has advanced to FEMA for review, and two projects resulting from the 2014 flooding event, an extension in Ranchettes subdivision and work on Venetian Way/Coronado Drive, should wrap up no later than April 2018.

However, once the HMGP projects are complete there is no “substantial” grant opportunities to continue stormwater drainage improvements. “Absent a new federally-declared disaster, HMGP funds will be exhausted after completion of current projects,” she said.

The grants department also helped secure almost $1 million in grant funds for four residences located on Madura Road and Coral Strip Parkway in Gulf Breeze and Alabama Street in Navarre. “We anticipate they will wrap up this year or early next year at the latest,” she said.

Fitzgerald also included an update on parks and recreation funding, noting that Navarre Park’s $50,000 master planning and design project is on course to meet its April 2018 grant deadline.

She also provided updates on Natural Resource Damage Assessment funding resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Permitting for Navarre Beach Marine Park’s $1.2 million Gulfside Walkover Complex and $615,000 Coastal Access and Dune Restoration improvements are nearing completion and is expected to be bid out this spring. Design of a $1.5 million artificial reef expansion and $117,000 sea turtle lighting retrofit project are also underway.

Fitzgerald also told the board funding has been approved for median landscaping on Hwy. 87 South from U.S. 98 to High School Boulevard. “We were notified $250,000 is coming to us just have to get grant agreement on next agenda.”

Additionally, a $4,125 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission grant for removal of derelict vessel located on the north side of Santa Rosa Sound on the west side of Navarre. Removal is expected to take place this spring or summer.

Also, $650,000 in improvements to the existing drainage way on Camden Drive in Navarre have been awarded with construction anticipated in late 2017 or 2018.

Other matters on this week’s commission agenda included:

  • Addison Russell Day proclamation during a special January 11 ceremony honoring the Pace High School graduate and Chicago Cubs short stop who tied a World Series record with 6 RBIs, became the second youngest player to hit a grand slam in World Series history and helped the team break a 108-year Championship drought
  • Proposed rebranding and strategic planning for Santa Rosa County Tourist Development
  • Designation of a portion of U.S. 98, between Rosewood Drive and Sunrise Drive, as Warren E. and Shirley Brown Memorial Highway.