Sewer line work will close 10th Avenue North to traffic in early August, but city officials say the bit-by-bit installation of the gravity sewer system is helping to revitalize the city's Original Section.
This summer's sewer construction project is the second of five phases of sewer-line installation planned along that section of 10th Avenue North. The next phase, at Swain Boulevard, is scheduled for construction next spring.
The gravity sewer line saves businesses the cost of building a lift station for sewage and is helping to spur new investment in the area — a key goal for the stretch of 10th Avenue North that cuts through the rectangular grid of streets laid out in the 1920s by city founder Lawrence Carter Swain.
New businesses that are using or will use the new sewer line include Green House Bazaar, a produce market and Middle Eastern bakery that opened in November; the Kid's World Day Care center, which is nearly complete at 10th Avenue North and Jennings Avenue; and the Commons at Swain, a two-story office building that broke ground recently on the north side of 10th Avenue North at Swain Boulevard.
"Infrastructure is a great investment for our city, and it provides jobs," Councilman Jonathan Pearce said. "We are seeing small businesses being built, and that's good."
The $266,156 gravity sewer line extension is being paid for with money the city collects in impact fees as well as Community Development Block Grant money. Palm Beach County Water Utilities is paying $23,528 to compensate the city for water main upgrades being done in conjunction with the sewer line extension.
The redevelopment plan for the 10th Avenue North corridor emerged from a 2001 neighborhood planning meeting. The city created a special zoning code for the area that includes uniform landscaping, buildings with metal roofs and clapboard-style siding to give them an old Florida look. The city also has installed decorative road signs, entrance markers that welcome drivers to the original Greenacres and decorative street lights.
"We anticipate further interest in the other lots along 10th Avenue North as the city's continuing redevelopment efforts take hold," Assistant City manager Tom Lanahan said.
Replacing old buildings with new, more valuable ones is part of a survival strategy for Greenacres. The city is 97 percent built out, and the taxable value of city property is sagging.
As in many other cities, Greenacres officials have been grappling with tight budgets in recent years because of the dramatic drop in the tax base following the housing bust. The projected total taxable value of city property for the upcoming budget year, $1.13 billion, is down 47 percent from 2008 levels.
*Aug. 4 to Aug. 16: 10th Avenue North will be closed to traffic from Walker Avenue to Haverhill Road. Drivers will detour by taking Haverhill Road or Sherwood Forest Boulevard north to Cresthaven Boulevard.
Aug. 17 to Aug. 31: Jackson Avenue between 10th Avenue North and Fourth Street will be closed.
Sept. 3 to Sept. 7: Lanes on 10th Avenue North will close periodically so the pavement can be repaired to complete the sewer-line project.
*Expected road closing dates. Actual dates may differ based on the construction schedule.
Source: City of Greenacres