Review of the proposed relocation of the Public Works and General Services Department to the Pineland Prairie property.


Issue: In February of 2019, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) instructed staff to review options for the relocation of the Public Works and General Services Department to another location. On 14 January 2020, Ms. Carla Segura presented four options to the Board and recommended relocation to Pineland Prairie. During the presentation, it was also suggested that the Parks and Recreation Department could also be consolidated at the new site. The BOCC rejected the recommendation for the Pineland Prairie site and requested further research. 

Staff returned at a later meeting in February 2020 and reiterated their recommendation. The BOCC voted to authorize the staff to proceed with the acquisition of the Pineland Prairie site.


  1. Current Situation
    1. Public Works and General Services Department: The Public Works and General Services Department is located on a 13 acre site adjacent to the Stuart Jet Center.  The department occupies thirty-nine (39) structures which include 10 buildings, 21 trailers and eight sheds. One building was destroyed during Frances and Jean in 2004 and never replaced.
      1. Functions: The functions operating at this site are Field Operations, General Services (which includes Vehicle Maintenance, Trades, Field Supervision, Roving Building Manager and Accounting), Mosquito Control, Traffic and Transit.
        1. The Department maintains all of the county owned properties. The majority are maintained from this site.  There are sites with building managers and fixed staff, such as the jail, County Administration building, etc. that are self-supporting or requiring minimal support.
        2. The Department has an on-site 5 double-bay vehicle repair facility to service the 193 vehicles under its purview, as well as vehicles from other departments. This coupled with the daily 133 personal vehicles belonging to employees, there is a severe parking shortage.
        3. There are several shops devoted to the trades: Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical, and Air-conditioning. Each shop has its own specialized equipment and storage of unique supplies. All appear to be fully utilized. 
        4. Mosquito Control has a specialized storage facility for storing pesticides. There is also a laboratory and chicken coop for growing sentinel chickens (no mosquito bites) to be placed in monitoring coops around the county to monitor for four types of mosquitos hazardous to humans.
        5. There was not a large training area, but only small conference rooms. 


      1. Personnel: One hundred and thirty-three employees work out of this site, with 91 reporting in, collecting assignments, tools and vehicles and then being dispatched around the county. 
        1. Forty-two employees are stationary at the sight. This number does not include contract employees. 
        2. When you examine the work patterns of the other 91 employees and where they spend their time (See Attachment 1-Areas of Work): 
            1. The Traffic group which maintains the traffic lights spend the majority of its time on the US 1 corridor; 
            2. The Mosquito Group is primarily on the western portion of the county and 
            3. the Storm Water group utilizes a cycle based work pattern which is county wide.
        3. The majority of the employees reside in St. Lucie County.


    1. Parks and Recreation Department: The Parks and Recreation Department is located on a 4.08 acre site adjacent to the Martin County Fairgrounds (11 acres) and occupies the northwest corner of Indian Street and Dixie Highway. 
        1. Functions: The department manages 72 park sites, which includes 945 active acres and 780 passive acres. 
          1. The Department services 75 parks from this location as well as providing support for Special Facilities and Operations in the way of storage of specialty items and bulk materials. (See Attachment 2-Zone Map)
          2. There are eight (8) Special Facilities that have their staff permanently assigned to a site. Examples of this are Halpatiokee Regional, the Water Park, Martin County Golf Course, the Campground, Indian Riverside Park, Langford Park, Doc Meyers Park and Timers-Power Park.
          3. The Department has 25 vehicles and 50 other pieces of equipment on site. 
          4. There is a specialized storage facility to handle pesticides and chemicals (fertilizer)
          5. 60 toilet facilities are maintained by the department on a contract basis.
        2. Personnel: The Department has 52 full time employees, 32 of which are assigned to the Indian Street location.  At the operations headquarters site, the department includes 10 offices in two different buildings, two warehouses, a carpentry and an irrigation shop. 
          1. Thirty-two employees work out of this site, with the majority reporting in and then leaving to service the parks. 
          2. The Department uses a system called Infor (IPS System) to track the activity of costs, both labor and material. In addition, the county is broken into four zones. 70.9% of the time is spent in Zone 1 (NE quadrant of the county). See Attachment 3-Labor Usage).
          3.  The Request for Services system utilized by the county reports a 95% response rate within 24 hours.
          4.  The majority of the employees live in Zone 1 and 2.



  • Observations:


      1. Public Works and General Services Department: The department is undersized for the extent of services it performs. The Public Works Department plans, designs, constructs, operates and maintains infrastructure for transportation, drainage, stormwater quality, beaches, conservation lands, and public works facilities as well as manages real property interests, transit services (Marty), and mosquito control services. Over the last 20 years, the county has grown 25.6% from 126,731 in the year 2000 to 159,129 in 2020. According to the State of Florida, the population will grow another 5% over the next five years, adding another 7,873 people, all of whom will use the roads, visit county offices, enjoy the common areas maintained by the Department.
        1. The facilities occupied by the Department have been cobbled together over time to meet the expanding needs of the community. The structures do not meet current building codes: 
          1. The buildings are deficient in meeting hurricane, wind and storm water codes; 
          2. it would take 2.6 acres to meet county code in storm water drainage;
          3. proper storage is limited; 
          4. employee locker rooms, showers and toilets are abysmal and inadequate; 
          5. the site is not large enough to accommodate employee parking; 
          6. and, a third lay-down yard is located offsite.
        2. The county pays approximately $211,000 per year in rent to the Airport. 


    1. Parks and Recreation Department: From an acreage aspect, the site is not ideally laid out for efficiency and appears oversized for the Department’s needs. 
      1. However, the offices, shops and under-roof storage areas are deficient in size. 
      2. The facilities could not meet current code.
      3. The training facilities are not sized to hold a department wide training session. 



  • Options Considered:
  • Locations: County staff looked at a number of sites and narrowed it down to one site considered suitable. Suitable defined as being of sufficient size and inside the Urban Services Boundary. Pineland Prairie met the criteria. The pros and cons of each site considered are outlined below.   
  • Pineland Prairie is a 40 acre site and after 20% is allocated for storm water retention (8 acres) and another 20% allocated to circulation space (8 acres for roads), the county would net 24 usable acres. This would be a 41% increase than the current acreage of both departments (13 and 4 acres) and could accommodate future growth. Other options that were considered:
  • Citrus Boulevard and 96th Street-127 acres outside the Urban Services Boundary.
  • Custom Yachts Site: 35.9 Acres with only 21.2 useable. The location is zoned commercial and but is not deemed of sufficient size. The asking price is $4.95 million or $138,000 per acre.
  • 30 Acres on airport property adjacent to the Fire Rescue Training Facility. This would require rent of approximately $486,000/annum or double the existing rent.



    1. Consolidate Parks and Recreation on same location: This was mentioned as a consideration. 
      1. The positives are: 
        1. There could be some synergies achieved in combining the trade shops and hazardous chemical storage.
        2.  A joint training facility could be planned into the program.
        3.  Proximity brings synergistic opportunities. Currently Parks sub-contracts out its plumbing needs; whereas Public Works has a plumbing department
        4.  The current location of the Parks and Recreation Department is too valuable to use for storage and as a lay-down yard. It is prime commercial property that combined with the fairgrounds is a 15 acre site. The site can be generating tax dollars.
        5. The current location of the Public Works and General Services Department can be partially vacated and used to generate revenue for the Airport.


      1. The negatives are:
        1.  That it will degrade the productivity of the parks department due to additional travel time, since 70.9% of their work is conducted in Zone 1 and 18.96% in Zone 2.  (See Attachment 3-Labor Usage) 
        2. That the productivity issue for Public Works and General Services may not be as severely impacted since Mosquito Control is primarily focused in the Western part of the county, and the Storm Water Group uses a cycle based work schedule. However, there will be a productivity degradation.


    1. MCTA Position: After carefully reviewing the situation, the MCTA supports the relocation of the Public Works and General Services Department to the Pineland Prairie site and to relocate Parks and Recreation Department to the same site. The rationale for this recommendation is:
      1. The current facilities for Public Works and General Services Department need to be replaced and upgraded. 
      2. The facilities for the Parks and Recreation Department also need to be replaced and updated. 
      3. The county pays approximately $211,000 per year in rent to the Airport. A portion of this money (61.5%) will offset the purchase price of $1,240,000 (40 acres at $31,000/acre) and will have covered the cost of the property in 9.5 years or the cost of road improvements in 9.25 years. Five or less acres will have to be maintained at the airport for refueling and parking of the Marty buses and county vehicles.
      4. In order to occupy the site, SW Boat Ramp Ave requires improvement. The developer has agreed to offset the cost of the property if the county improves the road. Estimated cost for the road improvement, according to Mr. Jim Gorton, Deputy Director of Public Works, is $1,200,000. It would essentially be a land for road improvement swap.
      5. Take advantage of synergistic opportunities between the two departments:
        1. Combine the trade shops and hazardous chemical storage.
        2. Develop a joint training facility.
      6. Caveats: The county is in the process of performing a Space Needs Analysis, which will lay the groundwork for site planning and building design. This will determine the cost of the project. This should be developed in size and scope to meet the current and needs and projected growth; however, the project should be subject to scrutiny to ensure that the tax payers’ money is spent wisely. 


  • Acknowledgements: This review could not have been undertaken without the cooperation of the County Staff. We would like to thank Taryn Kryzda, County Administrator; Mr. Jim Gorton, Deputy Director of Public Works; Mr. Jeff Dougherty, Director of General Services; Ms. Kylie Yanchula, Manager of Field Operations and Stormwater Management; Mr. Kevin Abbate, Director of Parks and Recreation; Mr. Mark Lynch, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation; and Mr. Jim Lopilato, Administrator of Parks Safety and Operations, for their time, knowledge and expertise which they apply daily to making Martin County a great place to live and work.



 Of the 13 Acres occupied, several acres are occupied by a fuel farm. Mr. Jim Gorton, Deputy Director of Public Works, felt the cost of relocating the tanks would be as expensive as replacing them on the Pineland Prairie site. In addition, the 22 buses for Marty refuel and are parked there. The bus routes for Marty are primarily along the US 1 corridor. The MCTA assumes that approximately 5 acres will be needed at a cost of $81,150 payable to the airport. Considering this, the net savings from the reduced acreage is $129,850/annum.