A road near the Florida Strawberry Festival may soon be named BerryFest Place and SR 39 moves toward the next step in utility expansions, which will include in-depth surveying.
A short, but nonetheless important, commission meeting last week set several projects in motion throughout the city.
On Jan. 14, commissioners approved to spend $3,020,000 to extend utilities down State Road 39 South in order to ensure the city had everything in place to seal the deal should interested developers make their way to town looking for a new County Line Road quarter.
While the type of development to come remains to be seen, the city is putting the foundation in place to ensure there will be few obstacles should a business wish to make Plant City home.
While the funds were approved on Jan. 14 the Capital Improvement Budget and the fiscal year’s budget ending on Sept. 30, 2019 was amended to make room for the approximately $3 mill alteration on Feb. 25. The project is mainly funded from development fees and the city said the money is transferred from other closed projects. To meet the estimated timeline established for the project the city approved the start of project development and environmental services (PD&E) so information will shortly be available for the selected Engineer of Record for the design of the project.
PD&E will survey the entire property as well as conduct subsurface investigations to identify existing utilities. During the process it will also host geotechnical investigations to identify the soil conditions of the land and of course have environmental investigations so the city is aware of any wetland and surface water conditions.
The city will have Southeastern Surveying and Mapping, which is a City consultant already under continuing contract, perform the survey and investigations for a cost that will not exceed $145,646.62. Madrid Engineering is providing the geotechnical and environmental services under a different engineer work order. The Capital Improvement Budget will be adjusted to include the cost of the survey and the money also mainly comes from development fees, according to the city.
Hillsborough County receives an annual EMS grant from the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services. The money is intended to be used to improve or expand pre-hospital emergency medical services.
Commissioners entered into the Interlocal Agreement with the county to receive $6,584 from the grant funding, which will be used to purchase CPR-AED training manikins. The goal is to improve and expand the pre-hospital training for our first responders thanks to the assistance of the new manikins.
No matching funds were required for this agreement, the city simply had to adjust the budget to place the funds in the account. A public hearing was set for March 11 to rename a portion of North Lemon Street, from West Baker Street to West Reynolds Street, to BerryFest Place. The request came from the Florida Strawberry Festival Board of Directors, who wish to have a festive name for the portion of street that runs by the grounds.
The festival owns six of the 11 parcels adjacent to North Lemon Street in the requested area and the remaining five parcels are not addressed on Lemon Street. The five property owners were contacted and they either support or have no issue with the street being renamed.
There is no cost to the city because the Florida Strawberry Festival will pay for the cost and installation of any new signs for the streets. During the public hearing residents will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the name change and commissioners will vote to either approve or deny the change.
City Manager Bill McDaniel said negotiations with the long-anticipated Midtown development are “going great.” The city agreed to enter a partnership with 2XS Development and have been in negotiations for a few weeks. Last week that process was moved from McDaniel and the developers to the 2XS lawyers and the city’s lawyers.
“We are all excited to see how this unfolds,” McDaniel said. “We’ve waited a long time for Midtown and we’re willing to wait more if need be to get the perfect addition to downtown, but I really think things are looking well with our negotiations.”