Q: What is the latest on the realignment of Orange Picker Road near Alberts Field?
A: Planning is underway for the realignment of Orange Picker Road from Acornshell Way to Brady Road, changing the two three-way intersections of Orange Picker and Brady roads to a single four-way intersection and providing expanded paved parking facilities for Alberts Field. The tree survey of the area has been completed, the parking lot for Alberts Field has been reconfigured to save the larger of the trees and the plan has been submitted to the Parks and Recreation Department for their review and acceptance. They have signaled that they would like to save more trees and have provided a marked-up plan showing their preferences. There is $700,000 in CIP (Capital Improvement Program) budgeted this year, so I fully expect the realignment of the road as well as the construction of the nearby dog park to be completed by the end of this calendar year or the very beginning of 2022.
Q: Do you have an update on Deep Bottom Creek, which we discussed a few months ago?
A: Deep Bottom Creek runs roughly from the Walmart area and through north Mandarin before it empties into the St. Johns River. Drainage improvements related to hurricane flooding north of Hartley Road are needed and a project has been identified to increase the size of an existing culvert under Hartley Road and then make the necessary changes to the system to provide attenuation. Design and permitting is ongoing. The contractor mobilized and started construction in mid-November and the basin pond is being excavated.
Q: It looks like vertical construction is beginning on both the Daily’s station as well as the new apartment complex on San Jose Boulevard?
A: Yes, the reality of these new developments along San Jose Boulevard is becoming more apparent. My responsibility is to continue to manage this growth.
Q: The Lot J development proposal is now dead, although you voted in favor. Could you explain your thought process?
A: My idea all along was that this was a public/private partnership. I understand all too well the opportunity this project would have created for residents and businesses in the area around the stadium and I’m disappointed it didn’t play out. I also understand that many Mandarin residents found the project unpopular because it was a downtown project, but sometimes in my role I have to look at the big, city-wide picture. I have heard from many residents who did not support the project via email and I have tried to be diligent in my response to constituents.
Related to Mandarin, though, is the news in mid-January that the National Park Service had declined the proposal to consider the Shipyards as replacement property for Metropolitan Park. This is relevant to us because the property on County Dock Road is still in the mix as part of a new swap proposal.
Q: What is the best way for our readers to contact you?
A: Community members can email me at MBoylan@coj.net or call (904) 255-5206.