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Palm Coast Tuesday, Mar. 15, 2022 3 months ago

Flagler to receive millions in state funding for Ag Museum, Commerce Parkway extension, septic-to-sewer conversion

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The state is sending more than $19 million for three major projects in Flagler County, Sen. Travis Hutson said.
by: Jonathan Simmons Senior Editor

Flagler County is slated to receive more than $19 million in state funding for three major projects: an expansion of the Florida Agricultural Museum, a westward extension of Commerce Parkway, and an ongoing septic-to-sewer conversion initiative in the Malacompra area.

"As Rep. [Paul] Renner and I keep rising to leadership, hopefully more and more things will happen."

 

— TRAVIS HUTSON, Florida state senator

The Ag Museum, off U.S. 1 at its intersection with North Old Kings Road, is slated to get $4.5 million, Florida state Sen. Travis Hutson said after the Florida Legislature passed the state's $112 billion budget on Monday, March 14.

The Ag Museum has been seeking the money to build a new visitor center-slash-museum that would be visible from U.S. 1 and allow more space for events. The county government, this past year, included the Ag Museum's proposal in its list of funding requests to the Legislature.

"It's been a big thing that I've been working on since I've been elected," Hutson said. "... It's really to bring, number one, children to the Ag Museum so they can learn about what is going on in the farming industry, but number two, make sure that they have the ability to have conference rooms, can do any type of lab testing, and do wedding venues with catering."

Commerce Parkway is the road that runs south from State Road 100 in Bunnell past the Wendy's restaurant, loops west past the planned site of a new county library branch and Sheriff's Office Operations Center, and then heads north again to the county's Government Services Building and courthouse complex. 

The proposed extension would bring it west to U.S. 1. The state is granting the full $6.8 million the city of Bunnell had requested for the project, Hutson said.

"It'll help people get around ... clean up that congestion there," Hutson said. "But more importantly, there's businesses ready to thrive. ...  I think it'll bring kind of a new, mini economic boom to that area."

The county has long been seeking state support to eliminate aging septic systems in the Malacompra area off the Intracoastal and place those properties on a sewer system. Old septic tanks can leak, and the leakage can lead to high nutrient levels in nearby water bodies. Elevated nutrient levels can cause algal blooms. 

The state is granting $8 million for Malacompra area septic-to-sewer conversion, Hutson said.

"We were able to ... do some of that resiliency that we've been talking about for years," Hutson said. "There may be a little bit more of an ask after the fact, but I think we got a big chunk of both the Commerce Parkway [extension] and the septic-to-sewer; those are two big, huge deals."

Some local city priorities, including Palm Coast's request for state money to extend its major arterial roadways west of U.S. 1, did not receive funding. 

"We were not able to get that in the first pass of the budget, but it's something Rep. [Paul] Renner and I were a little disappointed in," Hutson said. "We couldn't get it in ... on the first pass, but we're actively and eagerly wanting to make sure that we get it in this year."

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