Robertsdale passed the biggest budget in its history this month and it comes in more than $3 million higher than the previous year’s. But there’s also a $3 million reason why.
“Actually, the budget for the Public Works complex is $3.8 million,” Mayor Charles Murphy said. “This is the largest budget we’ve ever had at about $24 million. Last year’s was a little over $20 million and might have been pushing $21 million.”
The budget will fund phase two of the city’s redevelopment of Honey Bee Park and the biggest phase of a new Public Works complex is planned to start before Jan. 1, Murphy says.
“It will house electric, water, sewer and gas,” Murphy said. “The engineering and planning department will be up there with them also.”
The gem of the complex will be a new office building that will serve many purposes including as a multi-functional storm shelter. Part of this phase will include the beginnings of an amphitheater at the park as well.
“The office complex is not only an office complex, but it’s also a storm shelter,” Murphy said. “That structure is the bulk of the costs of the project. It’s got 9,000 square feet in the whole office complex. The entire structure will be storm-fortified.”
Part of that building will have a meeting room that can also be used to house more than 125 people.
“In case of a disaster we would have a self-contained unit where we could bring in outside workers and house them so that it would expedite the restoration of utility services,” Murphy said. “We learned a valuable lesson when Ivan came through in 2004. We’re sure at some point in time we’re going to see another storm of that magnitude, or worse, and when it comes, we want to be prepared to restore utilities completely as quick as possible.”
The building will also be used by Robertsdale employees to stage during any catastrophic weather events.
“It’ll have standby generation in case we lose electricity we can still have electric service at the site,” Murphy said. “We have restroom facilities in the building. We’ll also have shower units and we’ll have a full kitchen in the facility in case we have to bring people in and we’ll have an area where we can prepare meals and cook for everyone. There will also be a laundry room in it.”
There will be a covered parking lot next to the build for employees. Also, the complex will have about six other buildings to store a variety of city vehicles, a covered fueling station and a warehouse.
Restrooms and the amphitheater will be built during this phase as well because the land is currently vacant. The stage itself will be built at the site of the current utilities department building which will be removed once the new building is complete.
“We are really hoping that the first part of October we can go out for bid on the project,” Murphy said. “The plans on the big building are complete, the bid specs are complete.”
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