UPDATED 11/1/2016: Since there is such interest into this project, I have added the following link for your perusal. It is a PDF detailing out the concept of the Desoto Park Stormwater Facility. The only item that is not detailed out in the conceptual plan, is the positioning of exercise equipment along the proposed paved trail around the pond. Here is the link: Desoto Park Stormwater Improvements Concept Plan
There has been a lot of talk lately about the Desoto Stormwater Park Project. Because of this, I thought it would be a good idea to collect all of the information that I could regarding the project and post it here, so that the residents of Satellite Beach could see the specific benefits and needs behind the project.
Growing up in Satellite Beach (off of Desoto on Hibiscus drive to be exact) has created many fond memories associated with the Desoto Field. In order for me to be able to fully support this project, I wanted to be sure it was for good reason, and that the ultimate results would not be a large muddy ditch encased in a revolting chain-linked fence! Now, let’s cover a couple of areas that seem to drive most of the questions that I receive.
The new stormwater facility will be nothing more than a large “stormwater ditch”.
The “pond” will be located on the open field is closest to Desoto Parkway. The baseball field and the green spaces behind will remain as they are currently. The shoreline will be planted with vegetation and the pond will be aerated with a fountain. There will be a paved pedestrian/bike path surrounding the lake with exercise equipment placed along the way. There will be a good amount of “green” space around the lake to the outside of the path. It will be a park-like setting… think Gleason Park in Indian Harbour Beach.
This stormwater treatment area will take away green space that is used as a soccer/football practice field during daylight hours.
Satellite Beach actually gained a field in the north area of our City through negotiations with the property owner, Patrick Air Force Base. This new field has sports lights, which will allow for more practice time in the evenings. Additionally, the City has substantially improved the appearance of this field, and plans to add restroom facilities. The green space we are losing is actually not a loss. We gained a park that all residents can enjoy, and a practice field that is used more often by our athletic leagues.
Photo Credit to Vito Fun
Beyond the Lights:
The funding for this project is part of a low interest loan that is funded by the Capital Assets Fund, and the total estimated cost for this project is $920,000. The City has already received a grant from the Department of Environmental Projection that will pay for 50% of the cost. The City will be applying for another grant that will pay for another 10%.
The Desoto pond site encompasses more than 3 acres. If the city were to purchase this amount of land for this project instead of using the Desoto field, the cost would exceed $2 million. The City has worked hard to minimize the cost of land acquisition to taxpayers.
Lastly, WHY is the City doing this in the first place? Well, in 2011, the State mandated that the City, along with other communities along the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), reduce nitrogen and phosphorus discharges into the lagoon. Considering the deteriorated condition of the Lagoon today, the projects that we have accomplished thus far are not enough.
The scientific community has stated that stormwater run-off is a major source of pollution. In an effort to decrease both the nutrients and the freshwater flowing directly into the lagoon, the City will be constructing this water retention area that doubles as a beautiful parklike pond and a stormwater treatment facility. In the future, Satellite Beach may even reach a goal of preventing all stormwater from discharging directly into the lagoon.
If you have any more questions on this, please let me know. I think it is a win (hello, can you say LIGHTS!) on several levels: it keeps costs down, creates a nice park area, (did I mention lights?) and helps to restore the IRL.