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Town Hall storm upgrades planned with FEMA assistance

Federal dollars will pay for about three-quarters of the project to replace roof, add hurricane shutters and install new generator.

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  • | 11:00 a.m. March 11, 2020
  • Longboat Key
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Town Hall is in line for a series of projects designed to harden the building against storm damage and keep it operating after a disaster.

Three-quarters of the project’s estimated $930,640 cost will be covered with a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The town has budgeted the remainder, estimated to be about $232,660.  The federal grant is the maximum allowed, and if project costs rise, the difference will have to come out of the town’s end.

Among the components of the project: a new roof for Town Hall and the attached Planning, Zoning and Building Department offices; a system of storm shutters to protect windows, doors and other openings and a 200 kilowatt generator and fuel tank to provide 100% backup energy in the event of a long-duration power failure.

According to a memo from Sue Smith, the town’s finance director, money has been identified in the current budget, and the funding for the match will be part of the fiscal year 2021 budget.

Once completed, about 24 months from the outset of work, the buildings will be protected to winds up to 150 mph. According to a schedule that is part of the agreement between the town and Florida’s Department of Emergency Management, state and local contracting; design and permitting and bidding and contracting are expected to take nine months to complete. Construction and installation are expected to take about 12 months, and final inspections and closeout activities would take another three months.

In addition to the hardening of Town Hall, the town’s two fire stations are receiving upgrades to raise their level of storm protection.  As part of a plan to renovate Station 91, on the northern half of the island, and rebuild Station 92, on the southern half, both will be rated to hold up to 160 mph winds.

A safe room in Station 92, that could also serve as a makeshift emergency operations center, is also part of the plan.

Work is scheduled to begin in May to renovate Station 91. Demolition of Station 92, which fronts the Longboat Key Club’s Harbourside golf course at 2162 Gulf of Mexico Drive, is planned to begin in the same timeframe.  Firefighters will be housed in a temporary, four-bedroom structure on the site while work is underway.

The renovation project and the demolition-rebuilding project are expected to wrap up in April 2021, and cost of an estimated $5.01 million. Based on estimates developed from 60% completed plans, the Station 91 work will cost $814,000. The demolition and rebuild of Station 92 is $4.2 million.


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