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Longboat Key Friday, Jun. 21, 2019 1 year ago

Longboat to hold undergound-utilities kick-off event

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The town hopes to inform residents of the coming project.
by: Sten Spinella Staff Writer

A July 1 event caters to anyone in Longboat Key curious about the town's upcoming underground utilities efforts.

The underground project kick-off meeting, held from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Town Hall Commission Chambers at 501 Bay Isles Road, will be an informational affair consisting of a presentation coming before a Q&A period.

Harmer said the occasion is meant to be a chance for residents to hear directly from staff and officials who will forecast the large-scale enterprise.

“It’s really an opportunity to explain where the project is at, how it’s beginning, how it will evolve over the island, because it’s phased, and it’s gonna be over a period of three to three and a half years,” Town Manager Tom Harmer said. “We wanted to have a session where the public could come in and meet the contractor and talk to the project manager from this town about what to expect as they move through the island and ultimately through the neighborhoods.”

The contractor may bring in a piece of equipment to show people what the boring machine looks like and how it will work, Harmer added. 

Telephone polls will soon begin to disappear in order to improve the look and cell reception of Longboat.

Harmer said he isn’t sure exactly when the digging begins, but that it’s close to a start date. First, Florida Power and Light has to send the proper materials, like the conduit and wires. There is a staging area off of Cortez in Manatee County, where the equipment will be delivered. Harmer said delivery will occur sometime after The 4th of July holiday, “so maybe the week of the 8th.”

“I would say the official start of trenching for our FP&L work will be probably middle of July, because first thing is accepting the materials from FP&L,” Harmer said.

Once the contractor has materials in hand, they’ll start work on the south end of the island. Their initial work will be on the Gulf of Mexico Drive area, which will continue for months before the team gets into any of the neighborhoods.

Harmer said the July 1 date was chosen because it’s the same day as the final Town Commission meeting before they go on their traditional summer recess. Some of the commissioners leave town on July 1, so this date allows them to attend the kick-off as well.

Harmer said the main motivation for formally introducing residents to the undergrounding efforts is conscientiousness.

“Customer service is gonna be important for this entire project,” Harmer said. “When you’re out there boring and digging up, we’re going to be, I’m sure, impacting some of our residents landscaping and other things.” 

Sten Spinella is a Town Hall Reporter for the Longboat Observer. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Connecticut and his master's degree from the University of Missouri. 

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