MILTON —Large building projects, drainage projects, road paving and quality of life improvements for the citizens of Santa Rosa County topped the list of accomplishments met and started in 2019 by county officials.
“There’s a lot, first of all,” Dan Schebler, Santa Rosa County Administrator said starting to describe the county’s work. “We just posted on-line, our annual report. I think it’s on the budget page.” The report has a detailed listing of projects, such as what was done on the project, the cost, and where the money came from.
To read all the specifics, go to: https://www.santarosa.fl.gov/420/County-Administration.
“I think one of the biggest things is we broke ground on the courthouse this year in November,” Schedler said. The county held a procurement, firm competition to select a design-build team at the start of 2019, for the estimated $40 million project. A groundbreaking was held in November for the main building on Avalon Boulevard. Work will start on the site sometime this month.
The second major project that Schebler mentioned was the Pea Ridge Connectorl.
“The design is 90 percent complete,” Schebler said about the four-lane road that will eventually connect U.S. 90 and Hamilton Bridge Road. Schebler said work on the two-mile cut though would probably start in the spring and project completion would finish in 2021.
“I would say that the work we’ve done on the quality of life area this year with the parks has been significant.” Schebler said.
The county through state grants and other funding sources have been able to upgrade several parks. Optimis, Chumuckla and Floridatown Parks have all received upgrades so far. Sporting complexes at Tiger point and Navarre have had lighting upgrades.
Schebler also said many more parks are in line for upgrades in 2020. Those include, but are not limited to, Bagdad Recreation and Community Center, Bagdad Mill Site Park, Benny Russell Park, Navarre Park on U.S. 98 and causeway and Navarre Beach Fishing Pier.
Large infrastructure drainage projects were started and some completed. The Pace-Patterson drainage projects, Chipper Lane and Maranatha Drive drainage project and the Tiberon drainage project that is in progress will protect close to 100 homes that recently had flooding problems.
Local Option Sales Taxes paid for 50 miles of road surfacing throughout the county. Schebler said that is four times the amount of road paving as recently as 2014.
The county was also able to increase salaries for emergency and first-responder personnel and in some cases update their equipment.
More growth is anticipated in 2020 for Santa Rosa County. Thus county officials will continue to work and explore avenues for funding and providing better services for the residents they work for.