Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Grants, Park Update, Owl Grants and Publix Highlights Council Agenda

Submitted Photos | James Pankonin from the Kimley-Horn and Associates addresses council regarding the Veterans Community Park project.

The January 21st meeting of the Marco Island City Council began on a relatively positive note as the City Council approved the State of Florida Division of Emergency Management Grant Agreement # H0345 for Hazard Mitigation Project, DR-4337-245-R, Sixty Sanitary Lift Stations, Portable Generators.  

The need to provide auxiliary power sources for the sanitary lift stations around the county became evident during Hurricane Irma in areas of Collier County. The issues which faced the county during the hurricane were caused by non-functioning lift stations, which spilled wastewater into the environment as a result of a failure of the electric grid, therefore causing thoverflow of effluent due to non-functioning electric pumps. 

In the past, the city’s utility department has had to temporarily move 22 of its own generators around as the need arose after a storm to facilitate power to lift stations and fresh water wells. The acquisition of the 60 emergency generators will allow the city’s system to stay functioning effectively over an extended period of time after a natural disaster. 

FEMA and FDEM have awarded up to $2,490,000 for this project and the city has agreed to a 25% grant match which would amount to $830,000. 

The decision to participate in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) 404 funding and make the project a priority resulted from the City’s Hurricane Irma After Action Report that called for the city to identify and aggressively pursue FEMA Mitigation Grant opportunities to improve the protection of City facilities from storm damage, said Chris Byrne who serves as the city’s Emergency Management Recovery Coordinator. 

The Citizens Ad Hoc Hurricane Irma Review Committee also recommended the City pursue the hazard mitigation funding opportunities as they become available. 

“There are many factors that play into the decision-making process that determines when it is appropriate to allow citizens to return to their homes after disasters such as this. Their safety and the ability of the city to provide necessary basic services such as water for drinking and sanitary purposes in addition to fire protection needs is one of those,” said Byrne. 

FEMA initiated the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program 404 immediately after President Trump identified Collier County as a declared disaster area. Those monies are funneled through the State of Florida and all projects are approved or disallowed based upon the review of those grant requests by a county review board. 

Earlier this year, the city was awarded an additional $1.5 million to install an updated auxiliary power station that will be placed at the Marco Lakes site off the island. That independent power system will be used to ensure water can be adequately pumped to the island in case of a power outage in the area and replace an older unit that is at the end of its life-cycle,” said Jeff Poteet, the city’s Utility Manager. Marco Lakes is the city’s main source of water and is located just north of the 951-41 intersection. 

Veterans Community Park Update 

James Pankonin from the Kimley-Horn and Associates Architectural design firm provided an update on the status of the progress of the Veterans’ Community Park Project to both the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee on Monday in the afternoon and then again in the evening to the city council. 

Pankonin spoke to the progress being made regarding the design documents and the overall plan development. He also spoke to the design of the anticipated bandshell with all of its amenities as well as their vision for public restrooms within the park. 

The city has advertised the Request for Proposals for a “Construction Manager at Risk,” and those proposals are due back to the purchasing department on February 6. They will be publicly scored on February 12th at city hall. 


City to Pay Residents to Dig Owl Burrows 

The conceptual discussion to pay a resident $250 to assist burrowing owls in starting a nest on an owners property is no longer a concept but is now a reality. The plan developed by Councilman Jared Grifoni over the last year was finalized during the last month, and at the council meeting on January 21, was passed by a 7-0 vote of the council.  

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the species as ”Least Concern,” however, the Florida Status lists the bird as “Threatened.” The breeding season for the species runs from November 15 to July 10. Nesting occurs in burrows within the ground which the owls dig themselves and females may lay up to 8 eggs within a one week period. 

Juveniles will learn to fly beginning at about four weeks, but will have that skill conquered within the first six weeks.  

Amended Publix Site Plan Approved 

The City Council quickly dispatched the amended elevation documents for the re-building of the Publix Super Market at the Shops of Marco located at San Marco Road and Barfield. A clerical error showed an incorrect elevation indicator and the change had to be incorporated into the new document. 

It is anticipated that demolition and construction will begin by May of 2020, as Publix erects an entirely new store for its customers. Construction could entail 9-12 months after commencement of work, while the smaller Publix is left fully operational on North Collier Boulevard at the Town Center Shopping Plaza. 

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