PUNTA GORDA — Punta Gorda has struck a deal with developer LD Promotions to extend the city’s sewer utilities along Riverside Drive near U.S. 17 in south Punta Gorda.
This section of Riverside Drive — in and around the Cleveland area — lies within the city’s utilities district, even though it’s outside the city limits.
The force main extension will let the city provide wastewater services to the developer’s new Palm Breeze of Punta Gorda RV Resort, as well as four existing mobile home parks in the area that are already using on-site wastewater treatment plants.
The extension will also prevent the resort developer from using septic systems — which can be harmful to Florida waterways — for the RV resort where they want to offer 439 sites for recreational vehicles.
“As good stewards of Charlotte Harbor, we have to stop letting septic systems go in,” said Vice Mayor Debby Carey at a May 5 City Council meeting. “I think this (partnership) is a wonderful opportunity to show we’re putting our money where our mouth is (in protecting our waterways).”
The city is currently in the planning phase of an estimated 21-year plan to convert septic systems to sewer within multiple areas of its utility district in South Punta Gorda, costing around $82 million.
For the Riverside Drive project, however, the city will get some help with the LD Promotions partnership.
“The opportunity (here) that the developer has agreed to partner with us (and) to design and install this will serve the future of our service area in that location,” City Manager Greg Murray said at the meeting.
The developers will design and construct the entire project with the city reimbursing 75% of the overall cost — estimated at $1.4 million.
The city is expected to reimburse almost $1.1 million, leaving the developer paying almost $361,000 when it’s all said and done.
To afford the reimbursement, city staff plans to pull funds from an already budgeted force main replacement project on Henry Street that has been stalled for now due to other projects.
The overall Riverside price tag is broken down based on the amount of wastewater “flows” within the force main.
“Since their (the resort’s) flows represent 25% of what the total flows will be, the developer’s agreement has the city reimbursing them for 75% of the cost for the project,” Chuck Pavlos, city utilities director, told the City Council.
River Forest Village, Palms & Pines Riverside Resort, Lazy Lagoon Mobile Park and Pelican Harbor Mobile Home Park have been named as other potential users of the sewer extension.
Assistant City Manager Melissa Reichert told The Daily Sun it would be up to the parks’ owners as to whether or not to they’ll connect to the city’s system.
“Utility staff does not issue mandatory connection notices until directed to do so by the City Manager or the City Council,” Reichert said. “With no notice issued by the city, connections will be voluntary by each community.”
Reichert went on to say that there is no timeline completed at this point for the Riverside extension project.
Once completed, if one of those communities wanted to join, Reichert said the city will charge a wastewater capacity fee of $2,677 per residential unit.
So, for River Forest, which has 204 units, the capacity fee will total $546,108.
She also said the community will be responsible for hiring a contractor to remove their current wastewater treatment plant and connect to the city’s force main.
“We do not have estimated costs for the plant removal and force main connection,” Reichert said.
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