Completing Sumter Boulevard
The final phase begins
On May 14, 2012, the North Port City Commission voted to approve the final phase of the Sumter Boulevard widening project. After nearly a decade this project will be complete. The upcoming phase is expected to begin construction in February 2013. The 1.67 miles of remaining roadway to be completed will be from Heron Creek Boulevard to City Center Boulevard. “This is a very important project to move forward with,” said City Commission Chair Tom Jones.
In the mid 1990s, Sumter Boulevard was widened from Interstate 75 to Morandi Avenue. At Morandi Avenue, the four lane roadway tapered to two lanes. There were sidewalks, gazebos and a welcome sign added to enhance the appearance as people entered North Port from the Interstate.
The second phase of Sumter Boulevard was a 1.39-mile segment that stretched from U.S. 41 to Heron Creek Boulevard. The $17 million project included expanding the roadway to four lanes and the creation of a linear park with decorative landscaping, winding sidewalks, benches, gazebos, and lamp posts. The project was partially funded by a $6.4 million award from the Transportation Regional Incentive Program through the State of Florida. In 2008, the City celebrated the grand opening of the second phase.
In the first quarter of 2011, the City of North Port completed the construction of another phase from City Center Boulevard to Hansard Avenue (about a one-third mile stretch). The cost of the project was about $3 million, with nearly $1.5 million funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The remainder was funded by City of North Port’s transportation impact fee revenue. Side walks were added and the additional lanes increased safety.
Currently, the City is widening the roadway from Hansard Avenue to Morandi Avenue. The $2.3 million project started in the fall of 2011 and is expected to be completed this year. The construction is being paid for by the transportation impact fees collected for Sarasota County within the City and from transportation impact fees collected by the City.
A State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) loan agreement will be used to widen the remainder of Sumter Boulevard. The final segment is an estimated 1.67 miles. The terms of the loan include a six-year repayment schedule starting in 2014 at a rate of 2.4 percent. The repayment will be made in annual payments of $1.8 million over a six year period. The funding is planned to come from transportation impact fees and Surtax III funding. The North Port City Commission approved a State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) loan agreement in the amount of $10 million to finish widening Sumter Boulevard.
As a requirement of the SIB application process, the City prepared a plan for the State that identified the final phase of Sumter widening for consideration. The plan detailed the specifics of the project and a financial plan detailing the City’s ability to pay the loan.
The City Commission voted to approve the agreement during a meeting on Monday, May 14, 2012. To view the discussion from the meeting, visit www.cityofnorthport.com/index.aspx?page=489.
For more information about the loan, contact the City of North Port’s Finance Department at (941) 429-7107. For more information about the widening of Sumter Boulevard, contact the City’s Public Works Department at (941) 240-8050.