A new addition to the St. James City Civic Association building was discussed at the April meeting, as well as an update on the improvements to Pine Island Road.
St. James City Civic Association Treasurer Dennis Ward said the board accepted a contract from Allstate Aluminum to build a 20 x 30-foot lanai, with an aluminum roof and four inches of installation, at the civic center. He said initially it will be nothing but a screened room with a concrete flat surface base. The room can also easily utilize three fans.
It will cost the St. James City Civic Association $15,000 to build the lanai, which has already been raised.
"It will be 600 square feet of extra room," Ward said.
He said construction should begin later this month, if not the beginning of next month.
"Once it gets started it should take three or four weeks for it to be completed," Ward said.
St. James City Civic Association President Sharon Astle said the addition of the lanai is the group's 50th year pro-ject, which the board of directors and members of the associated agreed upon.
Once the treasurer's report was completed, guest speakers, FDOT's Ken Muzyk and FDOT Major Reconstruction Design Engineer and Project Manager Kevin Ingle, shared information about the improvements being made to State Road 78, otherwise known as Pine Island Road.
Ingle said the roadway will be safer with a divided median, which is a 46-foot grass median that will separate the eastbound and westbound lanes. He said the safety comes into affect because cars cannot turn out in front of each other and have a head on crash with the median.
"I think it's a great thing," Ingle said of the project. "I think it can be proven that anytime you widen the road, it increases the potential of business. I can safely say you are increasing the potential of added jobs."
The bare construction of the project, he said, will cost $7 to $8 million.
Ingle said the Metropolitan Planning Organization prioritizes the project through planning, design, right away purchase and then construction.
"Construction should start around July," he said, adding that the bids open at the end of the month. "The funds are in place and the right aways are purchased."
Muzyk explained that there will always be two lanes open while the new roadway is being constructed.
The rights of away, which was purchased, is located on the south lane.
"They will build the two new eastbound lanes first," he said, adding that they will then switch the two-lane traffic to the new road once completed.
The construction will be done in phases. The entire south side of the road will be the first phase, which will be followed by a shift in traffic on the new side of the road that was built, followed by a split in the traffic while the middle is being finished.
Muzyk said they will reuse most of the existing road for the westbound lanes.
"We will be reusing most of the pavement as possible," he said.
The signal at Veteran's Parkway will be replaced to accommodate the widening of the road.
There will also be two retention ponds - one located west of Burnt Store Road and the other on the north side of Pine Island Road between Southwest 28th Avenue and Southwest 26th Avenue, south of Ceitus Parkway. The first pond will outfall into the canal and the second pond will drain into the tidal area.
Muzyk said the contractor may use the dirt from the pond as a source of fill for the project.
The project will include no landscaping, except around the pond, Ingle said. The remaining landscaping was pulled because they could not find anyone to maintain the area.
The improvements to Pine Island Road will take a little more than a year to complete.
Muzyk said the first thing individuals will see is the telephone, electric and water lines moved from where they are currently located.
"The first thing you will see is the utilities moved out of the way and then the road construction will start," he said.