Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Project Update - Dig We Must

The Good News - The four projects that have disrupted the streets around North Bay Village, mostly on Treasure Island, have an end date in sight.  The goal is to have the projects completed in March and the streets restored to their previous condition by the end of March. 

WARNING - The March date is the plan but throughout the project new information and unexpected issues have delayed them before so it's more likely to be May, in my view. 

Still, this information from tonight's Town Hall, which can be viewed in its entirety at this link came as welcome news to the 7 residents and 2 dais members who attended and should be welcome news to the thousands of Facebook group members who have been following this seemingly eternal project.

Overview of the Projects - 

There are actually four projects. 

Repair and update the water main lines, the ones that bring water to our homes.  Most of the lines were either lined or replaced depending on their condition and that part is completed.   

Repair and update the sewer lines, the ones that bring waste from our homes.  Like the above, most of the work has been completed and when the pump stations are reconfigured and replaced, planned by March, we will have a functioning village sewer system.  

Repair and update the stormwater outflow and install new catch basins.  This is the system that carries away the water in rains and other floods.   Most of the work has been accomplished and is on track for March.  

Replace the water meters with smart water meters.  This will not only bring greater efficiency and accuracy in measuring water usage for billing, it will allow the consumer to view their water usage over time and understand their own impact on this.  It's the last step and can't be done until the rest are signed off and more good news, the asphalt patches on the sidewalks will be replaced.  

No.  Not yet.  

Some important things to know is that this is one project designed to get the water system to a stable, level point.   It will not repave the streets, improve resiliency, bury the power lines, address the parking issue, or eliminate many of the issues we had with the road surfaces before.  

It won't get us a dog park.  

There is a lot to do for North Bay Village to move to the future but at least we seem to be reaching the end of the project to give us a solid foundation.   

The Remaining Issue - Communication

The Village has been missing in action in communication about the project.  Nearly completely.  A few feeble attempts in the last few months to update on the Village Facebook page, occasional updates at commission meetings and weirdly an invite to attend a weekly meeting on the project during working hours.   

Even tonight, when I brought up that it matters to be proactive and the Village at least once should send a mailing to every household with the project status and where to get more information, it was met with condescension and a refusal to commit, peppered with excuses that "it's hard."   

Bullshit.  There are ~4000 housing units in North Bay Village.   The cost for such a mailing on a critical subject that affects every aspect of our lives, including our ability to sell our homes or attract new residents, and understand what our tax money is doing, would be about $1 per household.   A simple update.  This piece took me about an hour to write and will reach some people.   The Village Facebook page will reach others and some will even check the website, but a project of this magnitude deserves an active communication plan that people will see.  

I hope our administration finally gets it.  We're tired of being the last thought in this Village and I look forward to seeing a little more useful work on this.  

Kevin Vericker
January 29, 2019


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