CITY HALL

The City of Sebring’s move to the former Wachovia bank building will be discussed at Monday’s Community Redevelopment Agency meeting.

SEBRING — The City of Sebring’s move to the Wachovia Building hasn’t seen much movement, and will have a brief report at the Sebring CRA meeting this week.

Among the items for discussion and/or vote on Monday are the fact that city staff will arrange a meeting to discuss the proposed project to renovate the three-story bank building on the corner of North Ridgewood Drive and North Pine Street as a new city hall.

Staff wish to finalize their recommendation for the Sebring City Council and present it to the council at the Sept. 1 meeting.

Meanwhile, the Community Redevelopment Agency commissioners expressed interest at the July 13 meeting to buy two separate but adjacent buildings on the Circle at South Commerce Avenue.

At the July 13 CRA board meeting, commissioners expressed interest in acquiring the property located at 209 Circle Park Drive, the two story building that was the site of the former Sandy’s Circle Café, and 301 Circle Park Drive, the single-story former site of Gilbert Drugs.

The CRA wants to restore both “blighted” buildings. The board engaged in negotiations with the respective sellers.

The list price for 209 Circle Park Drive was $450,000. Staff was able to negotiate a price of $400,000, and will present a purchase contract for review.

The list price for 301 Circle Park Drive was $235,000. Staff was able to negotiate a price of $230,000, and will present a purchase contract for review.

The Board also put out a request for proposals from planning companies to put together the master plan for the CRA. Four companies responded — S&ME, Strategic Planning Group, Business Flare and MAPS Design Studio.

Of those, S&ME ranked highest, and staff has been authorized to begin negotiating a price.

The CRA will also discuss potential text amendments to the City of Sebring Code of Ordinances, for building appearance and design standards within the Downtown CRA district, specifically with regard to what types of materials may go on building façades in the CRA.

Right now, Sec. 26-183 of the Sebring Code of Ordinances provides for corrugated & other metal siding, except metal siding designed, manufactured and installed to look like vertical or horizontal wood lap siding. It may not be used for exterior wall surfaces except in Commercial 2, Industrial 1 and Professional zoning districts.

It does not prohibit construction of metal buildings as long as exterior walls are covered with wood lap siding or stucco metal siding that looks like vertical or horizontal wood lap siding, brick or similar materials.

For Professional zoning districts, corrugated and other metal sides cannot be used unless the structures are not visually intrusive and are consistent with the character of the neighborhood or of the community.

Proposed changes would require specific building materials in the CRA for those surfaces immediately visible to foot and motor traffic.

The changes would allow, or require, stucco or synthetic stucco; brick or glazed brick; tinted and textured concrete masonry; textured concrete (precast or cast-in-place); split-face concrete block; fiber cement/cement board siding; stone, cast stone, marble, or similar materials; glass and glass storefront; painted surfaces, architectural treated metal, or architectural finished/Exterior Finish Insulation Systems (EFIS).

The proposed new code would not allow exposed corrugated metal siding, although prefabricated metal buildings may be used with an approved exterior finish material other than paint.

Also prohibited are exposed concrete blocks or exposed plywood/particle boards.

Among project reports, the West Center Avenue Revitalization Project is nearly complete, with just paving left to do.

The City is also doing storm water upgrades between Franklin Street and Lakeview Drive, including in the Bank of America overflow parking lot, for which the CRA is also making improvements.

The Waterfront Redevelopment Project bidding has ended, with plans to present the rankings to the Board on Sept. 14 and a recommended firm on Oct. 12.

The renovation of the Blue Building is underway, with exterior work completed and drywall installed to the inside of the building, with hopes to be done this summer.

The city received a Community Development Block Grant in May 2019 to re-mill and resurface Orange Street, Rose Avenue, Violet Avenue, Nasturtium Avenue and Pine Street. The proposal included replacing sidewalks and curbs, where needed, rebuilding storm water drainage and replacing the lift station at Grand Avenue.

The CRA will contribute a total of $50,000 towards the project.