In the Town of Loxahatchee Groves, 2017 will include the opportunity for residents to vote on whether they want to use gas tax money to pave roads.
“That will come up in March,” Town Manager Bill Underwood told the Town-Crier on Tuesday. “I would tend to think that will be a positive view by citizens, since it is using existing intergovernmental revenue from the State of Florida from gas taxes to construct paved roads over some of the dirt roads. It won’t do all of the roads, but it will do a nice portion of them.”
Underwood pointed out that the paving will be asphalt similar to the B Road project recently completed from Okeechobee Blvd. to Southern Blvd., rather than the open-graded emulsified mix (OGEM) that was used by the Loxahatchee Groves Water Control District on other roads.
“Eventually, what we should see is the district transferring the balance of the roads that they are maintaining to the town, so that they can be incorporated into whatever the future plans are for taking care of the roads,” Underwood said. “That should be happening in the not-too-distant future.”
Underwood noted that the town has requests in to the House Appropriations Committee in Tallahassee for matching funds for additional road work, including the possible installation of guardrails between canals and roads.
The town is also financing paving projects on several roads in 2017 and has identified several that will not need much base-rock preparation.
“We will clean up and maybe do some swale work and put paving on them,” Underwood said. “Those roads were identified, and it appears that we’ve got San Diego Drive, Los Angeles Drive, 22nd Road North off of C Road, Flamingo Road and Paradise Trail, along with Raymond Drive, that met the density or compaction criteria. They are strong enough to do some asphalt on them, maybe a little rock, but not 8 inches of rock like we did on B Road.”
However, it will require some help from the residents along the roadways.
“The proviso is that the people who live on those roads have to provide the town with an adequate easement, probably 10 feet or a little more for swales along the roadway, because if we’re going to build a road, we don’t want it falling apart because there’s inadequate drainage,” Underwood said.
There has also been discussion of improving the existing OGEM roads that have deteriorated over the years.
“A study that the town did, indicated that they should put an inch and a half or two inches of asphalt on the OGEM roads for about $632,000,” Underwood said. “One of the provisos was that the district give us the remaining money from the bond issue they did in 2012 so that we can take those funds, roughly $480,000, plus a little bit of town money and do some work on those roads. It does not include the drainage portion, but it will provide a stronger base over the OGEM that currently sits there. It won’t last as long as B Road, but it will last a significant period of time, longer than OGEM.”
Commercial projects in 2017 may include the start of the Solar Sportsystems project on the east side of B Road at Southern Blvd., which has received comp plan approval.
“There have been several inquiries, so we’re waiting,” Underwood said. “They’re all set. They just need to find out who’s going to move in.”
The town is also moving ahead with the possible annexation of State Road 80 (Southern Blvd.) from the town’s western boundary up to the Royal Palm Beach boundary in order to control advertising and other development along that easement.
The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council also approved a resolution of intent to annex property around Palms West Hospital. The specific area is unclear because some of the existing buildings on the medical campus are in Royal Palm Beach, while some is unincorporated, but undeveloped land to the west of the hospital is specifically targeted.
Efforts are also underway to annex part of the county’s Royal Palm Beach Pines Natural Area at 40th Street North and Avocado Blvd.
“It’s a wonderful horse riding area,” Underwood said. “We have a lot on the plate for a little town.”