Drainage job gets federal funding
A multimillion-dollar grant is coming to help fight flooding on Park Boulevard. A second grant goes for sewers.
By ANNE LINDBERG
Published January 4, 2006
PINELLAS PARK - This city got a late Christmas gift courtesy of the federal government: $6.3-million for drainage and sewer improvements.
Notice that Pinellas Park will receive about $4.5-million in transportation funds for the final phase of drainage improvements along Park Boulevard came in a recent phone call from the office of U.S. Rep. C. W. "Bill" Young, R-Indian Shores.
The rest of the money, about $1.8-million, comes from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and will be used to extend Pinellas Park's sewer system, said Dennis Shaw of the city planning division.
The money for Park Boulevard is especially welcome. City officials worked for years to get help to stop flooding along the road.
They saw the project as vitally important, not only because of the inconvenience of the frequent flooding along Park, but also because it is one of the main evacuation routes in case of hurricanes.
The federal money will help with Phase III of an estimated $17-million total it would take to fix Park Boulevard. The cost goes well beyond what the city can afford. In recent years, Pinellas Park officials have cobbled together agreements that added county and state monies to the cause.
The agreements allowed work to begin on Phase I of the project, which will help improve drainage from the railroad tracks east to 49th Street N.
That phase is under way and is the reason traffic along 78th Avenue N has been tied up for months. It's also the reason about 1,500 of the city's 8,500 reclaimed water users were left high and dry for about a week.
The city cut off the reclaimed water to those residents in the area east of 58th Street and south of Park Boulevard while 750 feet of water pipes were relocated, said Tom Nicholls, head of the public works department.
The lines had to be moved because they were too close to the drainage pipes and workers did not want to risk nicking or cutting a water pipe by accident, Nicholls said. The water was expected to be restored Tuesday or today at the latest.
Phase I should be finished this summer.
Phase II of the Park Boulevard project, which goes from the railroad tracks west to 66th Street N, is expected to begin in late spring.
Now that the federal government has kicked in money to help with Phase III, preliminary work may begin. But it likely will be 2008 before any ground is broken on that section, which will go from 49th Street east to U.S. 19 N, officials say.
[Last modified January 4, 2006, 01:07:18]
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