PALMETTO -- Palmetto's mayor, police chief and other city and Manatee County officials gathered outside "Kevin's Crab Shack" Friday to announce the completion of a $2.3 million neighborhood revitalization project.
It was a project that took an extra year to complete and negatively affected residents and business owners during that time, a commissioner said.
"There was pain in the process but I think the residents will see the work we've done," said Commissioner Charles Smith, who represents the area. "I think it was worth the wait, worth the pain."
The Ward 1 Phase 2 project consisted of infrastructure improvements to the area bounded by 10th Street on the south, Eighth Avenue on the west, 12th Street Drive West on the north and Fifth Avenue on the east.
The work included improvements to roads and sidewalks, drainage, potable and reuse water, and sanitary sewer.
Costs were shared between the city's Community Redevelopment Agency and a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant.
The project took an
estimated two years to complete but should've been done within one, Smith said.
"We had a few speed bumps on the road," said Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant at the project completion ceremony. "... We are excited to move on."
There's still a "punch list" to complete, Groover Bryant said. Orange cones, construction workers and equipment were still visible in the neighborhood Friday. City officials hope all work will be entirely completed by next week.
"It's cost us about 50 percent of our business," said Capt. Jimmy Hendon, owner of Sunrise Sails Plus. "A lot of people didn't want to stop by because they didn't want to get muddy."
Knee-deep potholes also kept customers away, he said.
"The city was trying as hard as they could to make things better for us," Hendon said. "But they shouldn't have taken as long as they did. It's costing us a whole bunch of money."
Hendon hopes business will pick up now that the roads are paved.
Smith is pleased the project was completed just in time for the holiday season, a peak time for many businesses, he said. At commission meetings, Smith also emphasized the need to have the roads navigable before Election Day, Nov. 6.
"This is a win situation," he said.