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Moving along: Big projects gather momentum

The town center pavilion and GMD roundabout are among projects underway heading into the new year.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 30, 2022
The design for the roundabout on Broadway at GMD is over 75% complete.
The design for the roundabout on Broadway at GMD is over 75% complete.
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Generally speaking, these projects are deeply planned with financing sources at least identified. Construction in some cases is ready to roll (or even rolling) but in others, dirt likely won't turn until mid-2023 at the earliest. In some cases, it could be a decade or more. 

Broadway at Gulf of Mexico Drive roundabout 

The goal of constructing the roundabout on Broadway at Gulf of Mexico Drive is to help slow down traffic, provide for safer vehicular crossings and left turns, address significant elevation changes and enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety.

The design is meant to be an aesthetic, welcoming entry feature. 

Design for the proposed roundabout is over 75% complete. Final designs are expected to be complete in Dec. 2022 or Jan. 2023. 

Originally, the town planned to fully-fund the design, about $300,000, but Manatee County has agreed to cover half those costs.

The project is  programmed in the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Long Range Transportation Plan in the 2030 to 2035 timeframe. 

“That’s a little bit further out than the town was hoping for,” Brownman said. 

In terms of next steps, the primary one is finding the money to fund the construction. Construction is expected to cost between $2 million and $3 million. 

“The town does not have that kind of funding set aside to build this,” he said. 

Town Center phase 2

The Town Center Green is being developed in three stages. Phase 2, which is currently underway, includes pedestrian walkways, a master storm water system, a donor-funded pavilion, restrooms, night-time walkway lighting, electrical, water and sewer connections and the preservation of parcels of land for buildings planned for Phase 3. 

Donors and town staff celebrate the groundbreaking of the town center stage. From left to right: Tom Harmer, Penny Gold, Mike Haycock, Sarah Karon, Ken Schneier, Paul Karon, BJ Bishop, Debra Williams and Jim Brown

The soon-to-be Karon Family Pavilion celebrated its official groundbreaking Nov. 7. However, actual construction is not slated to begin until Jan. 2023. 

For the pavilion funding, originally, the town had anticipated the project would cost about $500,000. Paul and Sarah Karon opted to donate the entirety of that amount. 

"Paul and I love the word pavilion because it just connotes just a little bit more than (a stage)," Sarah said. "It's a place for recreation; it's a place for entertainment. It's a place for shelter, and it's a place for togetherness."

However, after going out to bids, the final total came back to the town at about $860,000. The remaining money was raised with the help of more than a dozen other individuals, largely through the efforts of the Longboat Key Foundation.

Other site work for the phase began in October with the entirety of the phase expected to be complete by June 2023. 

The town awarded the contract for construction to Jon F. Swift Construction. The final total came to about $2.23 million for the phase. 

Mainland sewer line 

The town is moving forward with efforts to rehabilitate the eastern mainland portions of the primary force main via a pipe lining project. 

Originally, a brand new pipe was planned to run parallel to the existing pipe, which went into service in the 1970s. The original pipe was built with the expectation of a population one day exceeding 50,000 residents. But a 1984 decision to rezone the island changed the trajectory of island growth, limiting peak season population to about half that number. 

In the new, more cost-effective approach, the smaller and more durable pipe will be fed within the existing pipe. The new pipe is expected to last between 75 and 100 years. 

The initial project’s overall cost is estimated to be about $2.6 million. The majority of the costs, $2 million, is covered by state appropriations received over the last two years as part of the broader effort to improve the sewer main. 

The entirety of the pipeline from the town to the county’s treatment facility measures about 4 miles. Currently, the town is only repairing the mainland portion, which measures about 1.2 miles starting from the repair spot on Longbar Pointe to the Manatee County meter at 53rd Ave. 

Improvements follow a pipeline break in June 2020 that spilled millions of gallons of effluent in Manatee County. 


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