The Voice of the Gem City

News April 13, 2022

This is Marcia Lane, your voting reporter.

Inflation is making itself felt — St. Johns County School District voted Tuesday to postpone construction of a new school in northwest St. Johns after bids came in “considerably” over budget. Three companies bid on building a new K-8 school in the Shearwater neighborhood between County Road 210 and Country Road 16. Bids ranged from Culpepper Construction Company’s $67.5 million to D.E. Scorpio Corporation at $62.5 million to STG Contracting Group at $56.2 million. Two years ago the same design cost $37.2 million. Reasons for the increase — uncertainty of being able to get construction material and a shorter time frame for construction. Continuing growth has mandated more schools needed. For now the school is on hold as officials look at changes so more companies will bid. Among the proposed changes, not having the school in place until 2024.

Dance is the thing this week at Florida School of the Arts on the Palatka campus of St. Johns River State College. The school’s annual An Evening of Dance is Thursday through Saturday. Performances are Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10.

Splash parks are popular but they come with issues. In Putnam County the pad at Project P.L.A.Y. at U.S. 17 North is not working and has been closed as technicians worked on the problem, say officials with the county recreation department. “Whether it was intentional or not, a pipe and a few other fancy named parts were damaged so the work is more extensive,” according to a post by the department, noting new parts are on order.

In Flagler County, the Palm Coast Town Council is looking at what to do about the $5.1 million splash pad at Holland Park. The pad was part of a multi-million renovation of the park that began in 2015. Several issues including conflicts with the original contractor led to delays. The latest involved the splash pad opened in May of 2021 and closed in July. Now the council is looking at suing builders and changing the pad to a more traditional recreation site. Also discussed at a recent meeting was the presentation by city staff of the need for a “total rebuild” for the pool at Palm Coast’s Belle Terre Park, which is owned by the Flagler School District.

An 82-year-old motorcyclist died in a crash on Interstate 95 near the St. Johns County/Flagler County line early Tuesday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The Green Cove Springs resident was riding his motorcycle south in the right line near mile marker 305 when a tire separated from his vehicle. He erased into the rear right side of a SUV in the left lane and then hit a guardrail. The man died at the scene, reported FHP.

Putnam County commissioners saluted 9-1-1 dispatchers Tuesday as part of National 911 Public Safety Communicators Week. Housed at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, 911 dispatchers handle all emergency calls for Putnam County as well as all of the municipalities in the county. Dispatcher Klarissa Fleming was recognized with a life-saving award for her attentiveness on what initially appeared to be an accidental call. She didn’t hang up and call back but stayed on the line and was able to hear a muffled sounds in the background that turned out to be a domestic abuse situation. The victim, once safe, thanked Klarissa for saving her life.

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