Long-term Santa Rosa County developments to watch in 2022

Santa Rosa County residents will be the first to tell you how much the county has changed in recent years.

Between the 2010 and 2020 censuses, the county’s population increased by about 24%. And with more people, inevitably comes more development and long-term projects to manage stressors on things like infrastructure and security services.

With a number of projects launched over the past two years, here is a list of several major things to watch this year as they finally kick off, continue in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic or conclude.

Santa Rosa County Courthouse

After issues caused by the pandemic, bad weather and supply chain issues, the new Santa Rosa County Courthouse was largely completed in mid-February under a contract modification order which pushed back the already extended deadline from the beginning of January.

The new courthouse on Avalon Boulevard in Milton will replace the historic downtown courthouse built in 1927. Santa Rosa County has a 20-year loan for the new courthouse and is expected to pay $2.4 million per fiscal year over that period.

The new courthouse will include seven courtrooms, judges’ suites, jury rooms, clerk’s offices, public defender’s and state’s attorney offices, and courtrooms.

The county awarded a nearly $43 million contract to Ajax Building Corp., Sam Marshall Architects, and HOK in early 2019. Construction on the project began in November 2019.

The contract change order will also record a net contract increase of more than $244,000 for the contract between the county and several entities to design and build the structure.

United States 90

As of March 2019—and after five years of public and state engineering input—a project design and engineering study determined that the expansion of US 90 through downtown Milton was the best way to alleviate traffic on this corridor.

Last summer, city officials said they would continue to study the concept of the Berryhill Bridge and whether it was a feasible infrastructure project for the city as an alternative to building four lanes of traffic. The proposed bridge concept involves a secondary two-way traffic bridge that extends northeast from the intersection of Berryhill Road, Willing Street and Broad Street over the River Blackwater to a new lighted intersection near the current entrance to Russell Harber Park.

Traffic rolls along US 90 in Milton on Monday.

However, the Florida Department of Transportation said it was not interested in funding the Berryhill idea or any other alternative than what they had already decided on and would go ahead with it. the design phase of the project which should start in 2023.

As recently as mid-February, however, Milton City Council members again popped the question about polling townspeople on whether they support US enlargement. 90. But these conversations did not lead to any action because the city had no alternative to offer residents.

Another Milton project:New Santa Rosa Courthouse set to be completed in February after long delays

Community resistance to the treatment plant:Storms, Sturgeons and Cemetery: Why Some Milton Residents Aren’t Sold on the Wastewater Site

Navarra Beach Bridge

District 4 Commissioner Dave Piech has replaced the ‘functionally obsolete’ Navarre Beach Bridge on his radar for some time nowbut it was made clear that a project like this could take up to a decade to come to fruition.

Piech spoke with FDOT officials, later sending a letter to the agency regarding coordinating with their efforts as they worked on US 98, to help the county complete an initial feasibility study. He finally learned last fall that FDOT is supporting the study bill for the replacement of the bridge.

Replacement of "functionally obsolete" The Navarre Beach Bridge could take up to a decade, according to Santa Rosa County Commissioner Dave Piech.

“FDOT really wants to help us plan this bridge so they can plan their work,” Piech told the News Journal. “And then to undertake the study under their guidance was fantastic, because it saves Santa Rosa County (money).”

Towards the end of the year, Piech was also part of a stakeholder meeting on the bridge. FDOT officials told him that this phase would take between one and two years. There are still questions about how big the bridge will be, where exactly it will land, and how to discourage traffic buildup when construction actually begins.

“But I think the best thing that came out of the meeting was that we expanded their openness to the impacts, the long-term impacts, of what this bridge does and what will impact this bridge. and Highway 98,” Piech said.

Woodbine Road

The County Commission has identified drainage and stormwater needs as the No. 1 priority for the county at a strategic planning workshop in February 2021and the commission eventually set out both funding and a long-term plan to deal with congestion and flooding on Woodbine Road.

Woodbine Road is a major thoroughfare that runs through one of the most affluent developing neighborhoods in Santa Rosa County.

Woodbine Road is a major thoroughfare that runs through one of the most affluent developing neighborhoods in Santa Rosa County.

The commission reallocated $315,000 to engineering firm Baskerville-Donovan as part of the company’s second phase of the Woodbine Road and Chumuckla Highway drainage improvement plan. In March 2021, the commission cleared the company to begin conducting the study and received the results in late September.

In June, District 1 Commissioner Sam Parker said he wanted to spend up to $24 million on road infrastructure, particularly Woodbine, noting that more attempts at improvements were to be expected in the future. ‘to come up.

Commissioners have approved several new commercial and residential developments on the road, including a 726-home development with commercial space called Lakes of Woodbine.

In October, engineering firm Mott MacDonald signed a five-year, $2 million contract with the county to begin widening work project.

The Jubilee Project

The Seaside-type planned community, which is expected to include a collection of homes, schools, businesses and restaurants, and a medical park, had the first preliminary housing plan submitted to the county last month.

The plan for this first phase includes approximately 260 homes on 260 acres. This is just a segment of the 2,700 acres included in the entire Jubilee Project, which lies between Willard Norris and Luther Fowler roads.

Plans for Jubilee began to take shape in the mid to late 2000s, but were derailed by the tumultuous times of the Great Recession. Then plans arose around 2016 to potentially give the land to the county, but never materialized.

At present, the phase one proposal is with the county planning and zoning department and the engineering department, and the staff will provide feedback to the project engineer. Land clearing and installation of infrastructure can only take place once the construction plans are approved by the engineering department.

County Planning and Zoning Director Shawn Ward previously told the News Journal that due to the size of the project, county officials were considering holding both the county commission and a county council meeting. zoning for projects exclusively related to Jubilee.

K-8 School Rhythm

In October, the Santa Rosa County School District opened its second kindergarten through eighth grade schoolwhich school officials say will help reduce overcrowding in Pace-area schools.

The 33-acre property will house the county’s second K-8 school. The school is expected to have just under 1,200 pupils and is intended to relieve SS Dixon Primary, SS Dixon Intermediate and Sims Middle schools, all of which are currently over 89% capacity.

The two-story building will include 45 classrooms and an indoor physical education building. The cost is just over $39 million, most of which was funded by local options sales tax revenue.

The other K-8 school is Navarre’s East Bay K-8, which opened for its first school year last fall. The one under construction, located on Wallace Lake Road in Pace, is scheduled to open for the 2023-2024 school year.

Milton Wastewater Treatment Facility

It has been about 10 months since the authorities began to consider the possibility of moving the site from the new Milton Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Since then, officials have reassessed their options and remained confident that the original location – an approximately 25-acre site that sits around the corner from the County Correctional Facility in East Milton – is still the best place to the establishment.

The current plant on Municipal Drive is expected to reach full capacity by the end of 2023. The new plant will replace the old facility and treat 8 million gallons of wastewater per day, up from the maximum capacity of 2, 5 million gallons of current plant.

The city originally chose the East Milton location in 2009. City officials broke ground on the facility early last year, but when construction bids returned to nearly $54 million, or almost double the expected amount, the city began looking for ways to reduce this cost. down.

Last summer, after citizens rejected the East Milton location, a study was launched on a 300-acre county-owned site to determine if it could house both the facility and the rapid infiltration basin (RIB), but an initial analysis concluded that only about 100 acres were suitable. Relocating the plant to this site would have resulted in 30 acres for the plant and 70 acres for the RIB system, which would not meet the initial plant capacity requirement.

Milton officials eventually pursued the use of 100 acres of county-owned property near the East Milton site for the RIB system, which would allow the facility to send its treated effluent to empty land. In February, Santa Rosa County Commissioners approved the completion of site analysis for the 100 acres planned for the RIB system and reached an agreement exchanging the land for plant capacity.

The city is now effectively a year behind schedule as officials plan to rebid on the project.

Michael J. Chiaramonte