SATELLITE BEACH ― At the regular city council meeting for the city of Satellite Beach a new proposal was introduced to determine the future of the city's fire station.

The discussion centered on the cost of repairs versus demolition of the existing structure. The building is currently located at 1390 South Patrick Drive.

The city is moving the Satellite Beach Fire Department to 210 Jackson Avenue over flooding concerns at its current location. Annual maintenance for the current fire department structure is $60,000.

The building is approximately 30 years old with beginning signs of deterioration. The current driveway does not meet Florida Department of Transportation traffic intersection requirements due to cracked concrete damage. Public works estimates that repair for the driveway will cost $30,000.

After a series of hurricanes in 2005, the city replaced the roof of the fire station, but it will need to be replaced in the next two years due to loss of protective material. There is also reported seam failure, missing tar and gravel, and general element exposure damage. The estimated cost for replacement is $50,000.

The estimated cost of keeping the current fire department was itemized with both driveway and roof replacement, but also the replacement of windows, bathrooms/showers, a kitchen remodel and generator replacement. The estimated cost for the various repairs would reach $223,000.

The estimated cost to demolish the station would be $62,900 and an additional $5 for per square foot of concrete removal.

One proposal for the area of property would be to construct a stormwater park. The plan involves a stormwater pond, pavilions and potential kayak launching site. The conceptualized park was presented to city council as a staff recommendation. City manager Courtney Barker noted that there was no need for use of the building for office space.

“I did have an opportunity to speak to a resident on Cinnamon Court. They thought that plan was great," said Ms. Barker. "They didn’t mind the larger parking area; they didn’t mind the pavilions. They thought it was great."

Vice-mayor Dominic Montanaro was receptive to the idea of a location for residents to launch quiet water crafts, but did not want to increase the potential of noise or planned events the park could bring.

“The biggest concern I have is we don’t have an opportunity for our residents to put a kayak or a canoe in the water anywhere in the city,” he said. "This is a prime location for us to be able to do this and I know that you all got the same email I got...on some different options, but I look at these options and a boat ramp is the last thing I would want to put on there for the residents that live on that street. Because a boat ramp means motorboats going down there.”

Councilwoman Mindy Gibson posed the idea of bringing in real estate appraisers who may find more value in the current structure, but agreed that the new park would be a milestone for the city's green spaces.

“If you think about it, this would be the only green space on the west side of South Patrick that we have as a park that I can think of,” she said. “We don’t have anything, no green spaces on that side so there is that benefit to it.”

The plan for the park was an introduction for council to continue to explore options, but some members were apprehensive about giving any final votes until more information was available.

Courtney Barker noted that they would have to have some idea of what the final decision would be around Aug. or Sept.

Mayor Osmer expressed that if anything was proposed to replace the existing structure, he would want it to be low impact for residents nearby.

Resident, John Pope, voiced his appreciation for a kayak launching site.

“I’m in a lot of fishing groups, a lot of outdoor sports, the one question I’m asked is how to we get to Samson’s Island. Can we put our kayak in behind the fire station? An outdoor space that we can utilize. The last thing we need in this city is another real estate fiasco,” he said.

To expedite the process of the decision, the city council members will share their own individual ideas for the future of the lot.

"The council decided to solicit input on their own about possible uses for the property. They felt that a more formal process, such as a committee or workshop would be too time consuming and wanted to keep the process simple," said Mrs. Barker. "They felt that since there are a lot of financial issues to consider with the building's condition and propensity to flood, that these issues could easily get lost with a longer, more drawn out process, so they will be making a decision in late May or early June."

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