Excitement is the feeling palpably floating around in Pahokee this week after city commissioners, in a recent special meeting, set into motion several long-awaited projects to refurbish the marina, campground and restaurant complex.
The Pahokee City Commission on Tuesday, May 29, voted unanimously to approve three contracts for parts of the renovation project at the lakefront recreational complex; to engage two companies that had bid on paving and stormwater improvements at Glades Citizens Villa and on improvements at Commissioners Park; and to hire a contractor for exterior beautification work at the old Pahokee High School building.
City Manager Chandler Williamson, asked by Mayor Keith Babb to give an overview of the agenda, explained: “This special meeting is solely for providing the commission recommendations on two bidded contracts and to also move forward with some resolutions’ approval for a lot of the renovations at Pahokee marina. As we all know, there have been some revisions to how we are approaching the Pahokee marina’s renovations. We’ve long been doing some due diligence here in ensuring that we have the right folks on board now to get these renovations done in an expedient manner. There may be an additional conversation with the state as these projects come on line and we get into them at full speed. One or two of these projects may go beyond the July 1 completion date. I am very comfortable that we will be OK in that respect as we move forward. But today, we want to get these projects moving forward.”
Mr. Williamson, along with each city commissioner at the close of the meeting, profusely thanked City Attorney Gary Brandenburg for his work in preparing all the contracts, resolutions and paperwork that were required.
First, Weekley Asphalt Paving Inc. was hired to do street resurfacing and stormwater improvements in Glades Citizens Villa for a total of $630,000. Mr. Williamson explained: “It has been a long time coming for that community. As you know, it has been subjected to severe flooding in particular types of weather. I just want to be clear that … it won’t address all of the flooding, but the flooding that is on the streets and the public areas, access to people’s driveways, access to get out of the community — that will be addressed significantly, and they’re prepared to move forward.”
Next approved was a resolution authorizing the Commissioners Park improvement agreement between Lynch Paving & Construction Inc. and the city costing $501,980. “This is another one of our projects that was funded by the state Legislature in 2017,” the city manager said.
The work includes renovation of the tennis courts, replacing their surface, netting, seating, fencing and lighting; construction of a new basketball court; additional parking, resurfacing of current parking areas and construction of a gateway entrance and traffic flow structures; installation of Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant, age-appropriate playground equipment; restoration and repair of the storm-damaged recreation shelter, including installation of an attachment to increase seating capacity and renovation of attached restrooms; replacement of antiquated water park elements; and installation of LED safety and security lighting.
For the marina/campground/restaurant project, commissioners also approved: a resolution authorizing campground and marina painting and renovation upgrades in an agreement between Aruba Construction & Roofing Inc. and the city costing $121,250 for two new bathrooms at the south end plus pressure cleaning, sealing, re-caulking, patching and other repairs to the exteriors of the campground office, restaurant, restrooms and fuel dock building; a resolution authorizing the campground and marina security and network system agreement between Hilios LLC and the city costing $39,204 for the installation of more than 20 cameras and related monitoring equipment; and a resolution authorizing a campground and marina petroleum fueling pumps agreement between Petroleum Marine Construction LLC and the city costing $54,860.
Also, a resolution was approved authorizing the Old Pahokee High School Beautification Agreement between A. Genesis Construction LLC and the city costing $69,500.
The work will include demolition of existing plywood and installation of new wood; chemical treatment of mildewed areas to be painted; pressure-cleaning the exterior; cleanup and sealing of areas to be painted; caulking of windows and doorframes as needed; patching of cracks and painting of the entire building, including new installed plywood window frames. Also, two large banyan trees and one large palm will be removed from the grounds; a well system will be installed for irrigation, and 20 sable palms and 10 live oaks will be planted as well, along with shrubs around the base of the building.
After the votes on the marina projects, Commissioner Benny Everett III asked City Attorney Brandenburg whether the contractor the city previously had on board in a design-build arrangement, Technomarine Services Inc. of North Palm Beach, had repaid $125,000 that had been advanced for the project.
“They refuse to give the money back. We have a lawsuit that I have drafted, that probably will be filed today or tomorrow,” he replied. The commission had authorized the lawsuit at its previous regular meeting.
Mayor Babb summarized at the end of the meeting: “I’m pleased with the progress that we’re making. The majority of these funds were secured in 2017, and these projects are now coming on line.
“We canceled our last regular commission meeting just to participate in the Pahokee High School graduation,” he continued, “but we did commit to coming back to take care of some business that was coming before us that needed to be expedited, and we’re going to continue to do that.”
Mayor Babb added, pointedly: “We (the city commissioners) have to be the cheerleaders first for ourselves, and get that energy out to the community, to let them know that we’re excited … for things to come. As our city manager has indicated, in the next six to nine months we should see a major transformation of Pahokee, so let’s start the cheering for that and push these items forward.”