St. Augustine’s Downtown Improvement District Project was recently named a 2016 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The project is being honored with APWA’s Project of the Year award in the Historical Restoration category at a cost less than $5 million. This award honors agencies that include historical restoration, preservation and adaptive reuse of existing buildings, structures and facilities.
For 2016, the team of winners includes the City of St. Augustine, FL as the managing agency; J.B. Coxwell Contracting, Inc., as the primary contractor; and England-Thims & Miller, Inc. as the primary consultant, who will be presented with the award during APWA’s 2016 PWX Conference Awards Ceremony in Minneapolis, MN during August 28-31, 2016.
The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements. This year, APWA selected projects in five categories in the Small Cities/Rural Communities area: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration, Structures, and Transportation.
In 2012 a group of St. Augustine business and property owners along Hypolita and Spanish Streets united to develop an improved western entrance to the historic core. The city, building from the business and property owner’s concept and with the assistance of a National Park Service grant, developed and adopted the Historic Downtown Streetscape Guidelines document in July 2013. The purpose of the document was to provide streetscape design alternatives for the visible streetscape, including the cartway, sidewalks, street lighting, street furniture, and landscaping that are consistent with historically used materials. A central component of the guidelines is the elimination of the vertical curb, instead replaced with a flush curb. This achieves three main goals: (1) providing ample maneuvering room for emergency vehicles; (2) reflecting the historic curbless character of St. Augustine; and (3) providing a larger pedestrian area increasing the public use of the space, even in the narrowest roadways, without overly restricting the vehicular traffic.
This final concept was presented and in October 2013, the City Commission gave approval to proceed with final design documents to be produced for the project with the intention that construction be completed prior to the City’s 450thCelebration in September 2015.
Ultimately, the project limits were expanded to include Hypolita Street (880 LF), Treasury Street (840 LF) and Spanish Street (775 LF), totaling 2,495 LF, which are located within the St. Augustine Town Plan Historic District, a National Historic Landmark generally bounded on the north by Castillo de San Marcos, on the south by St. Francis Barracks, on the west by Cordova Street and on the east by the Matanzas River.
The project’s scope of work included the following underground improvements: replacement of water and sewer utilities, modification of existing stormwater collection system, Comcast improvements, future conduit for Florida Power & Light upgrades, and installation of new TECO natural gas mains. The streetscape consisted of a curbless street with an inverted crown including pedestrian scaled stormwater inlets located 25’ on center along the inverted crown.
The vehicular lane was reduced to 9’ in width and was delineated by clay pressed brick pavers bordered by an18dzcoquina flush curb. Outside of the flush curb, coquina concrete sidewalks slope towards the street, away from the many historic buildings surrounding the project. The intent of the narrow traffic lane was to slow vehicles as they pass through the historic core of the city. Street poles with LED light fixtures including hanging baskets for flowers and other plantings were placed on the back of the flush curbs. Palm trees, benches, trash and recycling receptacles were placed throughout the corridors. Bicycle racks were added and a pocket park on the corner of Hypolita and Spanish Street was included and landscaped by a community-led fundraising effort.
For more information on the APWA 2016 Projects of the Year, please contact APWA Media Relations and Communications Manager, Laura Bynum, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 202.218.6736.
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