Parker Flooding Fixes Parker Sports

by Karen Custer
City of Parker Logo City of Parker Logo

PARKER, FL - Andrew “Andy” Kelley, the Mayor of Parker, has been waiting for two things to happen to be able to address major issues such as flooding in the City of Parker. A $7 million loan from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan has been approved. The ad valorum tax was approved at 3 mil and was implemented at the beginning of this fiscal year with that money earmarked to repair the infrastructure such as the inferior water lines in Parker.

Dirt moving started on May 6th, to build a retention pond on the five acres of land at the corner of 11th and East Business 98, to help address flooding. The project went out for bid four years ago, with the bid coming back at $800,000. Landowners recently granted an easement to run water pipe in the ground, and FEMA took several years to approve permits, during which time the cost increased to $1.4 million, causing a deficit of $600,000. If the Parker City Council approves, withdrawals will be made from Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds, and from Bay County’s ½-cent sales tax funds, with the balance coming out of savings, which will be partially reimbursed by FEMA perhaps a year later.

The contractor has until October 31st to complete this work (180 days). The massive retention pond will have a walking path around the top and lights around the walking path. The city council approved installing a fountain in the middle of the pond to increase circulation thus reducing the stagnation that could allow mosquitoes to breed. The mayor asked for fish in the pond which the city council did not approve yet, but since introducing fish in a pond can help to keep the number of mosquito larvae low, perhaps they will reconsider. During the next phase, pipe installation will commence on the other side of the Fire Department, cross Business 98, then the contractor will work their way down, ten feet under the ground.

As the retention pond is dug, the extra dirt will be moved to the park, for the planned Parker Sports Complex and football field. Then the City of Parker will be at the mercy of Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), FEMA and Department of Emergency Management (DEM), and for approval of the pipe by the agency who regulates water. An 8” or 10” line will be run from West Street to East Business 98, then will loop the water so it all functions the way that it should. Lines from the water main will provide water in the park, to a restroom on the other side, and to sprinklers, which is part of Mr. Summerlin’s vision for improvement.

After that phase of work, the city can proceed with building the very special football field, to include an emergency helipad in the center, which we hope will never have to be used!