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Sebastian may trade off moving garage for Barber Street drainage

By Lisa ZahnerSEBASTIAN — Moving the eyesore that is the City public works garage and storage yard between east- and westbound County Road 512 may be postponed to pay for enhanced drainage along Barber Street.During a review of projects in the Capital Improvement Plan on Wednesday, Councilman Eugene Wolff raised the concern that the relocation of the garage to the tune of $1.1 million is a “want, not a need” and that more urgent projects should take priority in the slim budget year to come. “I just don’t see the public outcry that this thing’s got to go,” Wolff said. “Given the economic meltdown, it’s an outrageous amount of money.”The garage project would have been paid for by Discretionary Sales Tax revenue, which can be used for certain capital projects, but not for routine maintenance. It was agreed that the drainage problem on parts of Barber Street is a critical need.Council directed City Manager Al Minner to look into how the funds could be used to install culverts and drainage infrastructure in conjunction with the Florida Department of Transportation base-building and resurfacing of Barber Street. “Curb and gutter is where we’ve got to go, but we’re never going to get there,” Minner said. “Drainaige is one issue that we all hear about. The swale work can be done for about $1 million, we can deal with that.”Minner said the drainage improvements were in the original Barber Street plan, which was ranked a No. 1 priority by the Indian River County Metropolitan Planning Organization, but that the drainage portion tipped the pricetag above the $2 million in stimulus funds approved through the Florida Department of Transportation and was eliminated from the project. Instead of moving the garage, there was discussion about spending about $20,000 to add landscaping to spruce it up. The site has already been cleaned up in response to complaints from residents and businesses along the C.R. 512 corridor, which was envisioned as an aesthetically pleasing entry leading to the Riverfront district.”It looks 100 percent better,” said Councilwoman Dale Simchick.

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