City Moves Forward with Waterworks Sense of Place Project

City Moves Forward with Waterworks Sense of Place Project

At their last meeting of the year, the City Commission unanimously voted to move forward with a sense of place project involving the Waterworks building.

The Waterworks building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located at the intersection of East Gaines Street and South Gadsden Street and consists of the main pump/well building, concrete cistern and three ancillary buildings.

The City Commission voted to establish “Funding for Historical Resources” as a 2017 legislative priority, initiate a proposed rezoning of the property and/or building, proceed with the architectural assessment phase in early 2017 to ensure that assessment results are received prior to Legislature grant funding and authorize the issuance of an RFP to sell the Waterworks site.

The Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI) approached the City in September of 2015 with an interest in implementing a sense of place project involving the Waterworks parcel.  KCCI proposes to re-imagine the historic Waterworks Building by developing a restoration plan for the property that complements the overall development plans for the district.

In April of 2016, the Commission voted 5-0 to authorize the expenditure of $10,000 for a Waterworks Building condition assessment and $50,000 for matching grant funds towards Phase I renovations.

Subsequently, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) approved the use of Cascade area CRA funds for an additional $250,000 for the 2:1 match ($500,000) funding from the State of Florida to yield $750,000 total for the Phase II restoration project.

The grant applications for Phases I and II were submitted to the State Division of Historical Resources in early 2016.  The July 2016 review of the $50,000 small grant application ranked the application 53rd out of 73 submissions. The October 2016 review of the $500,000 special category grant application ranked the project 25th out of 88 submissions.  As to both grants, the City will not have confirmation that the grants are funded until the conclusion of the 2017 Legislative session.

The grants, if funded, would be available as of the first day of the 2018 State Fiscal Year, July 1, 2017.  It is essential that legislative efforts focus on securing funding for a minimum of $9,157,179 in order for the City’s grants to be funded.

Should the City be successful in receiving the State grants, the City will be required to maintain the historic structure for a minimum of ten years.  In an effort to ensure long term preservation of this significant structure, regardless of owner, staff recommended listing the property on the Local Register of Historic Places.  This will require the City Commission to initiate the necessary rezoning process that establishes the Historic Preservation Overlay on the building and/or site.  As such, staff recommended that the City Commission initiate a rezoning of the property. This designation will not affect the land uses permitted in the underlying zoning designation.

Staff held a meeting with MLD Architects to discuss the assessment phase. The assessment will provide the information necessary to determine what work needs to be completed, and the approximate cost of the work needed in advance of the restoration project.

It is anticipated the assessment will begin in early 2017 so that conclusions are still relevant should the City be awarded a grant as a part of the State budget allocation for the July 1st funding.  Staff recommended proceeding with an architectural assessment in early 2017 to ensure that assessment results are received prior to Legislature grant funding.

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