GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The Board of County Commissioners have solidified their plans for the upcoming $130 million bond project, and if everything goes according to plan, the bonds will be sold and closed by the end of next month.
The BCC has been working this year get ahead of the massive multi-road restructuring plan throughout the county, and they moved one step closer to the final resolution at its Tuesday evening. The BCC should vote for a final approval as early as its next meeting on Feb. 25.
“On Feb. 25, you’ll be brought the bonding documents,” county attorney Courtney Grimm said. “You’ll have the resolution to vote on before you.”
An approval seems likely considering the entire board has favored the project. The bonds will be sold between March 2-10. The BCC will have two weeks to decide on any final changes, although specific meetings are set to finalize the project.
The BCC met with a financial advisor on Thursday to view the proposed resolution and preliminary offering statement. The proposal had some changes to the wording made during Tuesday’s meeting.
The project is set to use only $124.2 million of the $130 million available leaving a $5.8 million surplus. The project identification sheet originally included wording that allowed the BCC to use that leftover $5.8 million on additional road projects and other capital projects.
“You can use those monies for a project like a fire station or an animal shelter,” County Manager Howard Wanamaker said.
The council opposed that wording, citing that most of the current BCC members will term out before the project is complete, leaving that $5.8 million for a new council. Commissioner Mike Cella said the project was this council’s project and their goal was to use the money solely for road construction.
The BCC came to a consensus the money can only be used on road projects, like the six major planned projects and road resurfacing and paving. Commissioner Gavin Rollins hopes some of the leftover money can be used to resurface roads in Keystone Heights, a part of his district, and pave dirt roads.
The BCC voted 5-0 to officially designate the six planned projects as the projects the money is to fund.
The projects consist of Sandridge Road from Henley to County Road 209 and C.R. 209 from Sandridge Road to C.R. 315B increasing from two-lane roads to three-lane roads. C.R. 218 from Pine Tree Lane to Cosmos Avenue, C.R. 220 from Baxley Road to Henley Road and C.R. 209 from C.R. 215B to U.S. Highway 17 will go from two-lane roads to four-lane roads.
The sixth and final piece of the project will go to the First Coast Connection, a 1.6-mile stretch of U.S. 17 to C.R. 315B four lanes with a new 2.9-mile two-lane road connecting C.R. 315 to the First Coast Expressway.
In other business, the residents showed up to publicly speak about their problems with the Solite site. They fear they have of there will be other developments on the site. Many spoke of health defects and other problems they feel are linked to the site.
Rollins told the speakers no development has been started on the property, and no applications for development have been received. The priority is still to get the site properly cleaned up before discussions of anything happening at all on the site begin.