By Debbie Carson, Online Editor
FELLSMERE — Two gravel parking lots flanking New York Avenue at Broadway will be given a new coat of asphalt and landscaping in the coming months – all by the direction of the City of Fellsmere.
“It’s significant,” said City Manager Jason Nunemaker of the parking lot project. The city hopes that by renovating the parking lots at the Fellsmere Grocery and La Charo convenience stores the improvements will attract more people into the downtown area and to the businesses.
The $40,000 project will replace the gravel, improve drainage and bring the lots into ADA compliance. There will also be adjacent sidewalks and landscaped islands.
The funding for the project will come from the city’s Community Redevelopment Area budget. The budget consists of tax dollars generated within the targeted CRA zone and funneled back to the same area for improvement projects. No property (ad valorem) taxes are used on the projects.
“It’s a snowball effect,” Nunemaker said of the city reinvesting CRA funds into the area. He explained that by spending the money to improve commercial lots, it could improve the business conditions to the point where the businesses need or want to expand, which in turn could generate more job opportunities and increase the tax base.
The parking lot project would also be an aesthetic improvement to the area, according to Nunemaker.
“It’s not very appealing,” he said of the current conditions.
Nunemaker said that the engineering for the project is expected to take one month and then the bids would go out, which would also take a month.
“I’d like to see it by the end of the year,” he said of the project being complete.
Attempts to reach the owner/manager of the Fellsmere Grocery about the project were unsuccessful.