SEBRING — The City of Sebring has been awarded a $750,000 subgrant from the Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) to make improvements to downtown roads, curbs and drainage systems.

Sebring was one of 36 rural communities in the state that will be receiving a total of $24 million in economic incentive and infrastructure dollars. Other nearby communities receiving assistance include: Avon Park, Clermont, DeSoto County, Hardee County and Zolfo Springs.

Former Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is now one of Florida’s U.S. senators, said that providing “small and rural communities the opportunity to make investments in infrastructure and housing programs is key to growing our economy.”

The majority of the money being provided to local communities comes from grants from the Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program.

Sebring Assistant City Administrator Bob Hoffman said, “Keep in mind that the engineer’s estimate for this work is in excess of $2 million. We will not know the exact cost until we go out to bid. The funds to pay for the work, in addition to the CDBG funds, will come from the CRA [Community Redevelopment Agency], the city’s infrastructure budget and the Utility Department for the utility work.”

Sebring CRA Executive Director Kristie Vazquez said, “The CRA contributed $50,000 to support the revitalization project due to the fact that it is in the CRA district.”

As part of the project, the work will include:

• Mill, or remove part of the surface of the road, and repave parts or all of the following roads: Orange Street, Rose Avenue, Violet Avenue, Nasturtium Avenue and Pine Street.

• Replace curbs and sidewalks in the previously mentioned areas as needed.

• Rebuild stormwater drainage systems to improve the flow of water in the Nasturtium Avenue and South Orange Street intersection service area and the Violet Avenue and South Orange Street intersection. During heavy rains, the current system does not provide adequate draining in these areas, according to the agenda from an Aug. 7, 2018, Sebring City Council meeting that discussed the grant.

• Replace aging water and sanitary sewer system lines as needed.

• Replace the lift station at 1130 Grand Ave.

According to a letter from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DOE), “The city can now incur costs, begin the environmental review and procure professional services for the project.” One of the first steps is getting bids for the project.

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