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Palm Coast Thursday, Sep. 10, 2020 1 month ago

City to consider new locations for planned Public Works facility

Palm Coast's existing site off US 1 will be maxed out in 10 years, according to city staff.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

In May 2019, Palm Coast decided to move forward with plans for $975,000 in upgrades to its Public Works facility. That was to be the first phase of a project that city officials expected may cost up to $26.4 million. 

"We don't want to build on the site, and then be there and very quickly outgrow the site."


— CARL COTE, director, Palm Coast Stormwater & Engineering

But the city's needs have changed, and city staff are now considering finding a different, larger, site for the future facility.

"The acceleration of the stormwater program ... has created some conflicts as we have ramped up significantly and quickly the amount of fleet equipment and heavy equipment that we have," City Manager Matt Morton told City Council members during a Sept. 8 City Council workshop.

The city has shuffled around its departments since the Public Works facility plan was developed, moving stormwater maintenance staff members who'd previously been part of the Public Works department to a new department — Stormwater & Engineering – and transferring parks maintenance staff into the Parks & Recreation department, said Stormwater & Engineering Director Carl Cote.

The city's newly enhanced stormwater master plan has also required adding staff and equipment.

City staff want to combine all of those functions on one site, but the current location would be maxed out in about 10 years, Cote said: Just the stormwater department consists of more than 200 staff members and close to 300 pieces of equipment.

There are several options: Moving stormwater ponds into underground chambers to buy some space on the existing parcel, purchasing nearby property, or having staff work from the current location while storing some materials offsite to save space.

Morton said it can be difficult to manage different work groups when they're spread across multiple locations. 

"Ideally you'd have a single site ... a campus that is big enough to function," he said. "I don't know if that means we start at the drawing board again, and look for a site that's actually going to accommodate the entire development."

If not, he said, the city could need another facility 10 or so years down the line.

Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland said she favored "bringing everybody under an umbrella that makes sense."

"We only have one chance to get this right," Holland said. "I just want to make sure we're doing it right rather than just rushing to get it done."

She suggested that city staff return to the City Council in the future with a presentation on all of the city-owned parcels that could potentially be used for the new public works facility.

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