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PSJ police department renovation moves ahead

Tim Croft

Port St. Joe Police Chief Matt Herring made Mayor Rex Buzzett a happy man Tuesday.

Herring presented city commissioners with bids for renovating the police department, with a low bid coming from Monolith Construction for $137,994.

Herring asked for approval of an award to Monolith a review with Public Works Director John Grantland to ensure all submitted by Monday were complete bids.

Commissioners unanimously approved the motion.

“I’m excited,” Buzzett said. “Let’s get to work.”

Financial officer Mike Lacour said FEMA has indicated it will reimburse the city for the full costs; currently the city has $127,000 from insurance to spend on the police department, Lacour added.

In addition, the city would seek FEMA reimbursement for contents such as desks and chairs, etc.

Buzzett has pushed for months to begin the process of bringing the police department back downtown to the City Hall complex hit hard by Hurricane Michael.

The station has been cleaned and is ready for the new construction.

The department currently operates out of space at the county courthouse.

MLK corridor

Commissioners approved a task order for the city’s planning consultant to create the overlay district which will be central to the revitalization of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. corridor.

Commissioners have approved small-scale map amendments and zoning changes for the area, but what the overlay district will provide is the land development rules specific to the underlying zoning along the corridor.

The aim is to increase density in specific areas to spur investment and expand business and residential options within the corridor.

The task order to complete this step, which will be followed by public hearings, came with a $6,500 price tag.

“We’ve been talking about this for six years, we need to get it done,” Ashbrook said.

Boat ramp workshop

Commissioners scheduled a public workshop for 5 p.m. ET July 7 to discuss issues at the boat ramp.

Specifically, Buzzett said he wanted to take the steps to put the permit program fully in place as well as discuss options for tightening rules for boat ramp fees.

Not so much the rules, but improving signage and installing a system that will solve the issue of out-of-county residents not paying to use the ramp.

Ashbrook broached the subject of a credit card machine during Tuesday’s regular bi-monthly meeting.

Buzzett urged all stakeholders in the boat ramp to attend the workshop and provide input as commissioners consider final actions.