SEBASTIAN – Drivers could soon notice a visible difference on US 1 going through Sebastian. The 125 parking spots that flank the arterial road are set to get a face lift, as are the crosswalks and landscaping.
The Sebastian City Council has approved $250,000 worth of aesthetic and functioning improvements for the roadway, helping motorists see where there is parking and helping businesses by better highlighting the spots. Councilman Richard Gillmor said that this project would help people better understand that there really is parking in front of the US 1 businesses, helping both drivers and business owners.
The approved budget for the project is about $99,000 less than the consultants had initially estimated, bringing it down from $342,000 to $243,000.
City Manager Al Minner explained to the council this week that the estimate had been high because the consultant, Schulke, Bittle & Stoddard didn’t take into account that the city could re-landscape the 16 existing islands on the road, amounting to a cost savings of about $88,000.
Councilman Eugene Wolff told his fellow council members that he felt it was “unprofessional” for the consultant to have a landscaping quote that is “way inflated.”
He said that it gives the impression that the city is able to save so much money that it isn’t really saving.
Minner addressed the concern, explaining that the city had asked Schulke, Bittle & Stoddard to amend the estimate but the information didn’t make it into the council’s agenda packet.
“There’s no Hocus Pocus there,” Minner said.
With approval of the funds, construction crews will be hired to lay stamped asphalt on the on-street parking along US 1, delineating the parking lane.
Crews will also lay pavers on about 10,000 square feet of crosswalk between County Road 512 eastbound and North Central Boulevard at US 1.
Minner told the council that he sees the US 1 improvements as more of a beautification project than a parking project.
“Sebastian is different,” he said, explaining that it does not have the historic grid of roads that lends itself to a rustic downtown. By stamping the parking and adding pavers to the crosswalks, the project would help to establish the area, visually.