Million Dollar Plus LC Waterfront Redevelopment Back to the Drawing Board (Pt I - Background)
LAKE CITY, FL – On Tuesday night, December 8, the Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee met for the fourth time since March 3, when the City Council passed Ordinance No. 2015-2054. The ordinance gave the City authority to issue a redevelopment note not to exceed $1.2 million to develop/redevelop the Lake De Soto waterfront and Wilson Park. Most of design work was done behind closed doors by City Manager Johnson and his staff in conjunction with what appears to be two hand-picked consultants. According to City Manager Johnson, the public will be able to weigh in after the final plan is complete and ready for presentation early next year.
Background: Ordinance No. 2015-2054
On March 3, 2015, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 2015-2054. The ordinance, in relevant part, stated the following:
The Lake City Community Redevelopment Agency (the "CRA") is hereby authorized to acquire, construct, and equip capital improvements (the "Projects") to be located within the CRA area which are consistent with and in furtherance of the CRA Redevelopment Plan, including, but not limited to, the redevelopment of the Lake DeSoto waterfront and expansion of the Wilson Park recreation area, which will include pavilion upgrades, constructing an underground stormwater retention system, constructing and equipping a playground, constructing a band shell, constructing parking improvements, constructing a walking trail, constructing a seawall and constructing a natural gas fire light system.
On May 12, 2015, City Manager Johnson said that he was going to put out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a development consultant for the redevelopment project. (See: Lake City: Looking for a Consultant for its Downtown Community Redevelopment Area)
The City website does not indicate that a RFQ was ever put out for the Lake De Soto/Wilson Park project.
On October 13, 2015, the Community Redevelopment Advisory Committee (CRAC) met. In attendance were City Development Consultants Burl "Bo" Reardon of Tetra Tech and Timothy Green of Green Consulting Group. It was not clear how they got there.
The City set up the meeting so that the renderings were visible only to the committee members and once again, City Manager Johnson was at times, barely audible.
Planned in the Back Rooms of City Hall
Plan A, November 2, 2015 (Click here to enlarge)
City Manager Johnson kicked off the October 13 meeting by telling Mr. Reardon, "Touch on the staff meeting you had with the City staff and those kind a things that – I assume that's where you get your concept from to begin with."
City Manager Johnson explained the purpose of the meeting to the Committee, "It would be primarily to introduce the two concept plans that was formulated based on the staff review a few weeks back... that you don't know anything about."
November 2: The Plans (Plan A; Plan B) Revealed
Plan B, November 2, 2015 (Click here to enlarge)
On November 2 the CRAC met again. Timothy Green of Green Consulting Group presented two concept plans. Known as Plan A and Plan B, those plans were true to the March 3d Ordinance and included a band shell and sea wall.
City Manager Johnson did not appear happy with the plans. This was the first time the Committee had seen the plans. Other than the City's block ad in the local newspaper, the meeting was not publicized or advertised and only one member of the public was present for the presentation.
Part II: The December 8 meeting: Back to the Drawing Board, Again (coming later today)