In a time of growth for Orange City, the town’s leaders have a plan for building brand-new municipal buildings, fixing up and preserving the aging ones, setting up new facilities for Public Works, improving drainage, and building new water and sewage infrastructure.
What is known as the Master Facilities Plan exists on paper, but making it a concrete reality is a challenge that will probably not be immediately completed.
“We’ve just started the process,” City Manager Dale Arrington said. “All I‘ve done is point out the process to follow.”
Approved by the Orange City Council in June, the MFP — whose total final cost is not now known, but it will likely be in the multimillion-dollar range — sets capital priorities for the near term and long term.
The priorities include:
— A new police station
— A new fire station
— Facilities for an Emergency Operations Center and the Information Technology Department
— New office space for the Parks and Recreation and Stormwater departments
— Rehabilitating and renovating the historic Orange City Town Hall.
“The adopted plan takes us through 2035,” Arrington said.
A time-planning chart shown to the Orange City Council shows the process beginning in the first quarter of 2022 and culminating in the grand openings of some of the new facilities in 2025.
To get the plan off the ground, Arrington suggested the City Council hire a consultant to assist in planning the design and funding for the proposed facilities.
She also suggested the council appoint a committee of citizens to confirm the capital needs and to build “community engagement.”
In addition, the committee is to work with the consultant to identify possible funding sources, especially state and federal agencies, and, if possible, Florida legislative and congressional earmarks or special appropriations.
The citizens committee may also study the possibility of an increase in Orange City’s property tax to pay for the projects, and perhaps recommend whether a bond issue is an option. That may require a referendum, and if so, the committee would work to “get out the vote.”
While the full cost of the entire program is unknown, the cost of a new police station is estimated at $14 million, and the cost of a new fire station is $9.7 million. The city has already acquired land along East Ohio Avenue for the public-safety buildings.
Until a new fire station is built, the existing one will have to be modified to accommodate a new ladder truck the city has ordered.
City leaders say there is a real need for a new firehouse. Mayor Gary Blair described the one now in use as “deplorable.”
“It was not built as a fire department. It was a church,” Orange City Fire Chief Ronnie Long said.
Though he said the structure was built in 1950, Long noted it has served as Orange City’s fire station since 1980.