City to host open house Dec. 5 for new public works building


ROBERTSDALE — The city of Robertsdale will host an open house and dedication ceremony beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 for the new public works administration building located on Chicago Street, north of the police station.

In December 2019, the council approved bids for the construction of a new complex with an estimated total cost of construction at around $4.7 million. The project is being funded through a FEMA loan.

The dedication marks the completion of the main part of the complex, a $2.9 million administration building, said Robertsdale Mayor Charles Murphy.

“I think people will really be impressed with the administration facility,” Murphy said. The facility is rated as a hurricane shelter, Murphy said, and is self-contained with kitchen and living facilities able to house up to 100 people in case of emergencies.

Along with the administration building, the complex will include seven additional structures, two warehouses, a mechanic shop, equipment shed and maintenance shop. The project will also include coverings for the two fuel pump stations.

“Basically, all of those are metal structures,” Murphy said. “Bids for construction have been approved and we are waiting for FEMA to release the funding. Once funding is approved, it should take about 90 days to complete.”

The project is Phase 2 of an improvement project surrounding Honeybee Park. Phase 1 improvements to the park were dedicated in July of 2019.

All plans for the project were completed by Adams Stewart in Robertsdale and construction for the public works facility was done by Harris Construction, Murphy said.

“This has really been a lengthy process with approval of plans beginning about four years ago,” Murphy said. “It’s great to see the project finally coming together and I believe the citizens of Robertsdale will be pleased with the results.”

Construction on the facility began in early 2020, but there were delays in getting construction materials caused by COVID-19 concerns, Murphy said.

“It’s really great to see this project finally coming to a conclusion,” Murphy said.

Phase 3 of the project will include an amphitheater, parking and restroom facilities, which has been scheduled as a $1 million cash capital expenditure project.

Plans for the amphitheater call for an approximately 5,000-square-foot metal roof structure with an additional 6,200 square feet of ground space and 2,700 square feet of restroom space.

“Right now, all of the plans have been approved by the council and we are just waiting on funding,” Murphy said. “Up until this point, our funding has been tied up in Hurricane Sally expenses.”

The city has received all but about $600,000 of the $4.7 million in reimbursement from FEMA for Hurricane Sally expenses. Once that money is received, the city also expects to receive another $600,000 from the state.

“We were really hoping to schedule this as a cash project in 2022,” Murphy said. “But with construction costs being what they are, the plan right now is to wait and see if we get some relief before we proceed with those plans. The last thing anyone wants to do is to bid a project, only to find out that if we had waited six months, we could have saved ourselves a lot of money.”