Beach Parks Update – 2010 Annual Meeting

Good evening

To sum up the year, it was great one for capital improvement projects, Phase I of the Inlet Linear Park is completed: Phase I of Jetty Park is shovel ready, and you probably have noticed that Bergalis/Surfside is under construction. Unfortunately, with citywide severe budget cuts the maintenance of our parks has diminished. Our park maintenance crew now consists of 4 men who are being asked to work the entire beach; thus, mowing, trimming and pruning are about all they can do. They are truly trying to get blood out of a stone. Ramon, the team leader, treats the island as his own backyard, and instills that pride and work ethic in his team. So- please if you see him or any of his men, wave and thank them for their effort.

To help fill in the gap, we began a parks volunteer program-our basic job is to pick up trash. As of now we have 7 people working in our parks. It is very loosely organized-the city provides supplies, and I assign you a park to work in– when you want, and as long as you want. The only requirement is that monthly we submit our hours to the city. So far, with the exception of January, cumulatively we have worked 1 40 hour week each month. If you want to join us see me after the meeting. If you don’t wish to join us, please– every once in a while grab a plastic bag when you go for your walk and pick up as you go. It is now up to us to keep our island in the pristine condition we are accustomed to.

Let me add that we are not unique in this clean up effort-people and groups are popping up all over the city to do their share. A group of downtown defense attorneys have waived part of their clients’ fees in lieu of picking up trash along 2nd st. A new development around Pioneeers Park has become active, and Hybiscus Park has regularly scheduled community litter pick ups.

In conjunction with these resident initiated plans, the Keep Fort Pierce Beautiful program, which is part of the Keep America Beautiful program is instituting volunteer neighborhood beautification programs. I have submitted a project request for the painting of the picnic shelters at Surfside Park. Any of you who love to paint in Hunter Green see me to join the volunteer group doing the painting

Let me go back and further discuss the three projects I mentioned earlier.

Bergalis/Surfside parks. This project is the last of the post hurricane rebuild of our beach parks. I do not have a conceptual drawing for you, but if you stand on the sidewalk facing Bergalis, in the middle you see a new monument sign. Behind that will be 4 new picnic tables. On your right up by the dunes and the corner of Bergalis/ Surfside will be a new restroom similar to those in Jaycee. Below that in the Surfside-AIA corner will be a 30×30 pavilion. The total seaward length of Bergalis will have a sand retention wall similar to the one in South Beach Park. The project is expected to be completed in 90 days.

Inlet Linear Park- phase 1 has been completed-old docks, which could be removed were, and a cement walkway and wall going the full length of the park (Jetty to Mangrove Matties) has been constructed . A walkway connecting the park to the AIA sidewalk at Mangrove Matties is projected. So- soon there will be scenic connectivity where walkers, bikers and rollerbladers can safely travel from the jetty onto a new wide AIA sidewalk at Mangrove Matties and cross the bridge to downtown Fort Pierce. You might have noted gaps in the wall- those are bump out for benches, railings and a covered pavilion. Those amenities, along with lights, water fountains plantings etc. are part of Phase II. Unfortunately, as of now, there is no funding for phase II.

Jetty Park-A brief history. In June of ’07 2 charettes were held to gain public input on what the citizens invisioned Jetty Park to be. Overwhelmingly we said that we wanted an Adult Passive Park
For ease of discussion I will label them phase I and phase II.
Plans were drawn- then through a grant, the city acquired the Rawlins property. Part of the grant requirements were that the monies be spent on a park, not parking; thus you see why the parking is where it is. There were also requirements for activities within the park so you see a parcourse and some gaming tables. You see here the Watch Tower Folly. Many of us wanted to see the WW11 watchtower moved back to its original position complimented with information depicting the important role that Fort Pierce played in that war. Unfortunately a structural engineer deemed the structure too fragile to be returned to its prominence, so it continues to languish at the Public Works compound. It is uncertain what will be placed there in its stead, but knowing Jon Ward, it will be unique and worthy.
New plans were drawn, the city acquired from the county the narrow strip which is the current parking lot, and the necessary permits were approved—we were shovel ready.
At the 11th hour part of the old Days Inn property became available. The city re-allocated the construction funds from phase I to purchase that property-phase II. They also received a “state scenic highway grant” for construction of the property. So the plans were again redrawn to include that property and the relocated roundabout. We were on the DOT’s 2010 construction schedule, but unfortunately for some reason, were moved to the 2011 schedule. There is still a chance that we could get back on the 2010 list if another project drops off the list and we can prove that we are shovel ready

Other items of interest pertaining to our parks are:

The Citizens Parks Advisory Committee, which was formed in the late summer of ’08, has 3 items that are now ready for implementation or are in the pipeline for City Commission action. They are:

1. A recommendation allowing rentals of non-motorized watercraft and bicycles within certain parks in the City. The parks are to be determined by the city. The vendor must have a city permit gained through the RFP process. 2- A revised and update of the park ordinances 3- A revision of the various park fees.

A program first championed by Commissioner Coke is back on the table and being implemented. The program will seek donations from individuals and groups for “furniture” for our parks-benches, water fountains, bike racks etc. A list including prices, will be provided to you to choose from. When the item is installed, a memorial plaque will be placed on that item.

Nick Mimms, the director of public works, and Paul Williams Jetty Park and Inlet Linear Park project manager and Debra Brisson Director of County Parks and Rec will join me after the meeting for your questions, suggestions, and comments and hopefully to SIGN YOU UP as a volunteer.