Coronavirus won’t stop city capital projects
By St. Clair Murraine
Most if not all of the capital projects under way before the coronavirus prompted a call for social distance will continue unless the pandemic gets out of control.
City manager Reese Goad also said work on projects like the planning phase for a new Tallahassee Police Department headquarters is ongoing. So is work on completing FAMU Way and infrastructure work in the South City-Orange Avenue area.
Work to upgrade a power plant is also still going on, he said.
Statewide the number of COVID 19 cases is rising daily, but Goad said things haven’t gotten to the point to stop work on capital projects.
“We are hoping this will be a temporary crisis; shorter rather than longer, and it doesn’t permanently damage the economy,” Goad said. “If that happens I think capital projects are at risk. But it’s way too early to know that.
“While we have continued those critical services we know we have to provide, like electric, water and our public safety resources, we are really working hard to make capital projects continue on. So far we’ve been fortunate that we haven’t had an interruption.”
Work is going on daily on construction sites as well as planning for the new TPD home in the Northwood Centre. That project is in the designing phase, which will help determine cost, Goad said.
It is expected to be completed in three years.
“You don’t want to lose momentum,” Goad said. “If you do it’s a big project and it will take awhile to restart because there are a lot of moving pieces.”
The Southside project includes installing sidewalks, clearing a creek and street resurfacing. Some of the street resurfacing runs from Country Club Drive to an area between Magnolia Drive and Orange Avenue.
Recently, Goad said most of the city’ capital project over the next five years are in the Southside.
The city is using a “staff preservation model” to remain functional at a time when most people are being urged to stay home. Staff preservation allows some workers to be on standby while others are on the frontline. Backup staffers are ready to step in if there is an outbreak that affects frontline workers.
“We have changed our staffing model to make sure that under any circumstance we will be able to continue to provide the critical services that our community relies upon,” Goad said.
He also announced that there won’t be a change in trash pickup schedules. However, he said Waste Pro, which is contracted to remove trash, will not collect garbage bags that are outside of the pickup barrel.
“That’s just a slight change for their welfare,” Goad said. “Of course, we think that is appropriate.”