Dec. 4 City Council Brief: City Moving Forward with Major Projects for 2019

Green Cove Springs, FL – For its last meeting of 2018, Green Cove Springs City Council approved the execution of two significant projects for the City.

City Council executed the loan/grant contract under the Florida Department of Environmental Protection State Revolving Fund program for Phase 1 construction of the Consolidated Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant and improvements to Lift Stations 2 and 4 and the City’s wastewater collection lines. This approval allows Public Works to officially move forward with construction of the wastewater treatment plant and improvements to lift stations and wastewater collection lines.

After spending a majority of 2018 applying for and securing a $600,000 grant through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, City Council approved executing the grant for improvements to the City Pier in Spring Park. This grant will allow the City to design and rebuild portions of the existing pier and floating docks, as well as design and build a new pier and floating docks for larger vessels. Part of the grant will also be used to build a wave attenuating system to protect the pier and docks from wave erosion and damage. This approval allows Public Works to use the grant money and begin work on the City Pier.

City Council also approved to advertise for the city clerk position and a chief building official and a planning and zoning director for Development Services. The city clerk position is currently vacant with Julie Clevinger’s retirement on Nov. 14.

The chief building official and planning and zoning director are part of the restructuring of Development Services, proposed by City Manager Steve Kennedy during the Nov. 13 City Council meeting. The chief building official will report directly to the City Manager and supervise the code enforcement officer. The planning and zoning director will also report to the City Manager and replace the development services director position. This position will focus on supervising planning and zoning. These restructured positions will help support the Development Services Department’s current workload, as well as prepare the department for the anticipated increase in building and development in the future.

The Charter Review Committee gave its concluding report to City Council. Some of the committee’s recommended changes to the charter include adding a nondiscrimination statement, increasing the city manager’s spending authority to $25,000 before seeking approval from the City Council, more clearly defining the scope of city manager’s powers in an emergency and add that the City Council is required to review emergency expenditures made by the City Manager after the emergency, assign annual performance review of the city clerk to the City Manager, and expand the City Council’s field of legal resources removing the requirement for the City Attorney to reside or maintain an office within the City limits. The committee also suggested considerations for future Charter Review Committees once Green Cove Springs reaches a population of 15,000 people, including that the city mayor become an elected position, expand the size of the City Council, review the salary of City Council members, and establish City Council boundary districts.

Parks and Recreation Programming Director Glee Glisson announced new safety rules for Thomas Hogans Memorial Gym. These new rules include no backpacks, purses, or bags of any kind allowed inside the gym, and a minimum of two city staff will be present at the gym. These safety rules apply to the gym’s open hours of 3-7 p.m. seven days a week. Green Cove Springs Police Department officers will also visit the gym every day during open hours. A new sign with these rules will be installed in the gym.

Green Cove Springs residents and visitors will soon see the first mural approved by the City Council under the City’s Mural Program, enacted in 2017. “Cove in Bloom” by Clay County artist Sophie Dentiste will be painted at 404 Walnut Street, on the wall facing Orange Avenue. The mural will feature native Florida flora and fauna in an art deco style. Once the funding is secured, it will take Dentiste two weeks to paint the mural.

Dentiste has set up a GoFundMePage to fund the mural project. All donations will go towards the materials and promotion of the project, with excess funds donated to Mercy Support Services and the Art Guild of Orange Park. After the mural is painted, Dentiste plans to create a key map that visitors can find in local shops and restaurants to identify the native animals and plants featured in the mural. She plans to paint the mural in 2019.

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