Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Water System Deficiencies Create Problems for City

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Water System Deficiencies Create Problems for City

Article excerpt

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS -- A businessman who purchased 5 acres on Commercial Circle with plans to build a lumber and hardware store has put his project on hold due to a lack of water.

Robert G. Canady learned the property he purchased is in an area that lacks fire hydrants.

Canady told the City Council Tuesday that the county requires a fire hydrant within 500 feet of his building.

"I'm asking you to help any way you can," Canady said. He said his target opening date is June 1.

City Council members, however, said nothing can be done since the city does not have a franchise agreement with the company that provides water to the area, Florida Water Services Inc.

The city allowed the agreement to expire after the company failed to resolve a long-standing problem of insufficient water pressure in the downtown area.

"We certainly would be willing to help any way we can, but it's up to Florida Water. We could not buy a fire hydrant and put it in there," said Councilman Bill Beam.

Canady said a Florida Water official told him a water main along Florida 21 could supply water for a hydrant to the area, but didn't say whether it was scheduled to be done.

The only other alternative Canady says he has is to put in a 20,000-gallon water storage facility, something he said would be prohibitively expensive. He said he would probably hire eight to 12 people for the 12,500-square foot business.

When the city put a non-binding resolution to voters in December to see if residents wanted the city to purchase and upgrade the water system, the question was turned down.

City Attorney Kim Yozgat said he has been working on a resolution to the lack of fire hydrants and the lack of pressure in existing fire hydrants for nearly two years.

"It's been a problem ever since I've been here," Yozgat said.

But Councilwoman Ginger Johns, who was elected in December, said it was time to get the issue resolved and that Canady's business may well be a stepping stone in that direction. …

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