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Underground utilities for Treasure Island
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TREASURE ISLAND – City officials hope to take advantage of an upcoming Gulf Boulevard resurfacing project to install underground utilities at a reduced cost along the roadway.

Treasure Island City Manager Reid Silverboard told commissioners at a Dec. 18 workshop that the Florida Department of Transportation has plans to remill and make drainage upgrades to South Gulf Boulevard from 99th Avenue north to 105th Avenue. The time frame is 2014 and 2015.

During a recent meeting with Silverboard, FDOT officials asked what plans, if any, the city has planned for the roadway that could be tied into the work.

“They mentioned they have a program that would allow us to essentially partner with DOT where we would develop all the plans for undergrounding, give the plans to DOT and they would tie them to the milling and resurfacing plans,” said Silverboard. “They would bid them all together so that the contractor would also have the contract to do the undergrounding. It would be watched over and implemented by DOT.”

Silverboard said the offer would save the city a substantial amount of money.

“It would save us having to do remilling and curb to curb resurfacing,” he said. “We would still be responsible for the cost of the restoration and undergrounding of various utilities but we would have DOT and their engineers managing the project for us.”

Silverboard said the city needs to get completed plans to FDOT by January or February 2014 to take advantage of the offer.

“They would take those plans and meld them into their plans and go out to bid with that,” he said.

Silverboard said the FDOT offer is only for South Gulf Boulevard. Plans to resurface North Gulf Boulevard are already in place and it’s too late for the city to join in. North Gulf Boulevard plans are too far advanced at this point for the city to partner with FDOT.

Silverboard said he has asked a representative from Baker Engineering to provide a cost estimate for the South Gulf Boulevard undergrounding.

Funding for the project would come from the city’s estimated $3.78 million in Gulf Boulevard beautification funds it expects to receive from Pinellas County.

“So rather than waiting as we anticipated another two or three years, while the (beautification) money accumulated, we have the opportunity of start now,” said Silverboard. “Obviously, it makes more sense to do this now rather than waiting and going in and tearing up Gulf Boulevard later to get it done.”

“I’m in favor of it,” said Commissioner Phil Collins.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Commissioner Alan Bildz. “It will save us enough money on South Gulf Boulevard that we’ll have enough to do the north.”

Initially, Progress Energy told the city it would have to install the underground lines outside the (Progress Energy) right-of-way and the city would have to purchase an easement along the entire length where the undergrounding would take place. But that has changed.

“We told them that’s essentially killing the project. There’s no way we can do it,” Silverboard said. “They didn’t require it in Indian Shores and nobody would be able to underground if we had to do that. So they relented and said you can put it in the right-of-way. “

However, the city will still be responsible for purchasing some smaller rights-of-way where transformers will be placed.

The entire length of the undergrounding will be about one mile, Silverboard said.

In other workshop action, the commission:

• Moved forward on a resolution to spend $231,030 for repairs to the Beach Pavilion on Sunset Beach.

• Moved forward on a request by Brent Palmer of Oceanus Slides LLC to allow a second water slide on the public beach behind the Algiers Gulf Resort Motel at 11600 Gulf Blvd. The Hippo Slide would be the same size as the current slide behind Gulf Front Park, which is 36 feet high, 50 feet wide and 175 feet in length. It would be inflated and deflated each day. In return for approval, Palmer would pay the city 20 percent of gross revenues.

• Moved forward on a request by Joseph Kervick to operate a bicycle rental business on the Beach Trail. Kervick would operate seven days a week from February through April. In return, Kervick would pay the city 25 percent of his gross receipts.

• Discussed removing the concrete wall on the beach next to the former Buccaneer Motel property between 107th and 108th avenues. City officials decided to get a quote from Biltmore Construction.
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