Transportation group gives city update on projects

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 5/9/18

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – The Keystone Heights Airpark is set to receive a few upgrades based on a new plan presented by the Jacksonville-based North Florida Transportation Planning …

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Transportation group gives city update on projects

Posted

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – The Keystone Heights Airpark is set to receive a few upgrades based on a new plan presented by the Jacksonville-based North Florida Transportation Planning Organization.

During the May 7 Keystone Heights City Council meeting, Milton Locklear, a transportation planner and modeling specialist with the NFTPO, presented the agency’s Draft Transportation Improvement Program which starts in the 2018-19 fiscal year and runs through 2022-23. Locklear began his presentation explaining what NFTPO projects would affect Keystone Heights, mainly being the airport updates and a resurfacing of State Road 21 from Putnam County to Commercial Circle in Keystone Heights on State Road 21 and South Lawrence Boulevard to the city limits.

“As you can see, this road will be simply getting resurfaced and will cost about $100,000 for the 2018-19 fiscal year. After everything is said and done, this piece of the project will cost $7,646,488,” Locklear said.

The NFTPO’s job is to gather data to support building new transportation infrastructure. The data is then presented to municipal stakeholders – in this case the City of Keystone Heights – which refers the data and provides input. The agency’s data is then presented to the Florida Department of Transportation to then include in their five-year plan of projects to be funded.

Locklear continued his presentation by touching on the multiple updates and additions the Keystone Airpark would be receiving if this program is approved. Locklear asked David Nickels, who earlier in the meeting was approved by a motion that passed 5-0 to hold Seat 3 of the Keystone Airport Authority, to come up and help explain some of the airport changes.

As presented in the NFTPO plan, the Keystone Airpark is set to receive a new terminal, which will cost $134,000, a preservation project that will cost $2,900,000, a new tractor mower that will cost $100,000 and a new entrance off State Road 100 West that will cost $500,000. Nickels was particularly excited about this piece of the program.

“This would be great,” Nickels said. “If we could get a right-hand turning lane and a left-hand turning lane, that would be awesome. We need it.”

According to Keystone Heights City Manager Scott Kornegay, this portion of the project is not yet funded yet.

“My understanding is that this is not yet funded,” Kornegay said.

The approval date for this project is June 14 so by then, it’s expected that it will be known whether this piece of the program, and the program as a whole, has been fully funded or not.

Locklear concluded his presentation with two more airpark additions. The first addition is a new weather system, which according to Nickels, can’t be updated with new parts or fixed to continue working as its lifetime is up and that means a new one must be purchased. This will cost $300,000. The other addition is a 10-unit T-Hangar which will cost $700,000.

These projects and the updated NFTPO plan will be discussed on June 14 at 10 a.m. at the agency’s headquarters at 980 North Jefferson St. in Jacksonville.

In other business, the city council approved this year’s 4th of July Parade, Boo on the Boulevard, the annual Homecoming Parade and the Our Country Day celebration. The council also held its swearing in ceremony for Mayor Karen Lake, who was sworn in by her son Ethan Lake. Vice Mayor Steve Hart, who Lake selected to serve as the vice mayor again, and council member Larry Peoples were also sworn in ceremonially. The official swearing in took place the day after Super Tuesday.

The meeting concluded with a warning from the council to underage children driving dirt bikes, motorcycles and golf carts around town on city streets. The council, specifically Steve Brown and Peoples asked that parents not allow underage kids to drive these vehicles around town as it is not only dangerous, but illegal as well. The council warns that it is taking steps to further clamp down on this problem in the city.

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