With the 2022 season officially over, and the town not yet ready to start the Times Square renovation project, it looks as if construction will now begin after Easter of 2023. Here’s why.
One of the reasons for the delay has to do with the state budget. The town will be receiving $2 million in grant money to put toward the Times Square project. If any money is spent before the grant money is in the town’s bank account, those expenses are not eligible for grant money. The Governor is not expected to approve the budget until later this month.
Another reason for the delay is to minimize the amount of disruption to the businesses in Times Square. And that means trying to accomplish the majority of the work during the “off-season.” If the work started in August of this year, which was the last start date being thrown around, it would surely run into the 2022 season.
Finally, the town has not even gone out to bid for the project. That’s a process that could take several more weeks, and every day that goes by gets us closer to the next season beginning.
The plan would be to start the project the day after Easter in 2023 and for crews to work 24 hours at times to get the underground work completed. This extra timing would give the town the time needed to go through the bidding process and order all the needed materials in advance.
Councilman Jim Atterholt said on Monday that he’s heard from Anita Cereceda, who owns two businesses in Times Square, and is the liason between the businesses and the town council. She’s told him the majority of business owners are in agreement to push the project back to 2023.
The Times Square renovation is a multi-million dollar project, part of the three big projects the town borrowed $10 million to put toward.
In the past Town Manager Roger Hernstadt said this project will take 8 months which would push completion it into November. On Monday he indicated that it would be done before the next season began and before Margaritaville opened, which is expected to be September of 2023.
Each restaurant will get new pergolas which will replace their umbrellas, although there’s still some disagreement over this item and who gets what. The pergolas will be ten feet off the ground.
Sandcast clay pavers will be installed, which will be strong enough to handle a fire truck, and have a soft feel on bare feet. It’s the same product already installed on Old San Carlos. The plan is to save as many of the palm trees as possible, but there’s no guarantee once they’re removed from the ground to be moved, that they can be saved. If they cannot be saved, they will be replaced.
There will be a covered stage in the area where the Sunset Celebration tent is now set up every weekend. There will be a moveable FMB Logo sign that the council believes everyone will use as an area to take selfies. It’s unknown if there will be a big sail by the pier that some people feel block the view.
There will be some type of clock in Times Square. Whether it’s a new clock or the current clock is still undecided.