On Thursday, March 23rd, the city officials, employees and local residents came together for the groundbreaking ceremony of the much-awaited Public Works Complex. This project is aimed at bringing a modern and avant-garde Public Works facility to Oakland Park. The complex will sit on the site of the City’s defunct water treatment plant. That plant was demolished in October of 2019 to clear the way for the Public Works Operations and Administration and a new Emergency Operations Center.
Another Bond Project Underway
In November of 2018, two-thirds of the City’s residents voted to approve a $40 million dollar bond to improve the City’s aging infrastructure. Less than a year later, the old water treatment plant was demolished, marking the beginning of several bond projects. However, just 6 months later the entire country went into quarantine for nearly 2 years. Many, many things were put on hold until after the pandemic was over.
In the meantime the City worked on making sure, first and foremost, that its residents were safe. They made sure its residents were informed and connected. Amongst the things the City did, they provided food to residents, began a Call a Senior program and created a COVID Vaccination POD for vulnerable residents. The vaccination POD was an initiative piloted by City Manager, David Hebert. He wanted to ensure that the City’s most vulnerable residents had access to vaccines. The effort was so notable the City even won an award for it.
As the world emerged from the pandemic, intact, albeit a little different, the City wasted no time in moving other bond projects forward. This project was the 4th bond project on which they broke ground in less than a year. The other projects that have been started are Fire Station 9 , North Andrews Garden Community Center and City Park Phase I. This latter project, City Park Phase I, also celebrated a ribbon cutting in October of 2022.
Today, Hebert was recognized by Commissioner Tim Lonergan for being brave enough to accept the job as City Manager, knowing all the work that lay ahead in, literally, building up the City. Hebert, in turn thanked the Commission for their hard work on each project and the City employees for all their hard work in making these projects a reality.
The Mayor noted: “It’s an exciting time in Oakland Park… We continue to deliver on our commitment to build for our second century and provide the community with several modern facilities in time for our centennial in 2029”. She also had public works employees come to the front for applause.
While the tone of the event was mostly serious, Commissioner Steve Arnst broke it up when he complimented Assistant Director of Engineering and Building services, Sierra Marrero for her City pride. Heidi Burnett, the City’s Director of Library and Cultural services, received an honorable mention for her Oakland Park themed dress.
New Complex Set to Improve City's Public Works System
This new public facility is a $26.5 million investment into the City’s infrastructure and service delivery. The complex will house the divisions responsible for maintaining the City’s water, wastewater, stormwater, solid waste, streets, parks, facilities, and fleet services. Public Works is currently located at 3801 NE 5th Avenue. Their move to the new complex will free up five acres of land for public green space. More specifically that land will be incorporated into Phase II of City Park.
The design for the new facility coincides with the City’s vision of creating a consistent and unified aesthetic for its civic facilities. In February of 2023, the City Commission approved a resolution to cap the maximum price and award construction services to Kaufman Lynn Construction, Inc. Kaufmann Lynn is also building Fire Station 9 and involved in the redevelopment of 6 acres in downtown Oakland Park.
The project is being funded with $11.5 million received from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, up to $1 million from the FEMA Hazardous Mitigation Grant Program, and approximately $15 million from loan proceeds.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Public Works Complex marks a significant milestone for Oakland Park. This innovative project promises to enhance the quality of life in Oakland Park by providing a more efficient and sustainable public works system. It will also create more green space at City Park and contribute to the overall aesthetics of the City.
Stay tuned to LivingInOaklandPark.com for updates on this and other projects.