City Council Tables RV Campground Project
Fred Poppe Regional Park RV Campground Project Faces Setbacks
The Palm Bay City Council recently tabled a decision on the Fred Poppe Regional Park RV campground, which has been in the works since a Brevard County Tourism Development Council (TDC) grant of $1.7 million was awarded in 2018. The project includes the construction of an RV park and nature center.
The TDC grant agreement requires completion by September 21, 2024, and the city may ask for an extension based on projected design and construction timelines they don’t currently have. However, the project has faced several setbacks, including construction estimates consistently exceeding $2 million and the need for additional funding.
In September 2020, the City Council approved an additional $3,255,965 towards phase 1, and in March 2021, a new engineering contract was awarded for up to $4 million. December 2021 estimates took the project over $4 million. In August 2022, the City Council contracted with Kimberley-Horn for a feasibility study.
The project has faced many challenges, and the current plans are based on a bridge entrance off the St Johns Heritage Parkway, which is not budgeted. The site plan includes 138 "back-in" campsites, required infrastructure, lift station, and dump station. However, many existing designs will require redesign, and all plans are based on a bridge entrance that is not budgeted. Other future elements such as ranger stations, bathrooms, and welcome center are not in the budget.
To date, the city has expended $206,336.08, with a remaining budget of $3,206,807. The original budget of $3,244,965 is comprised of the TDC grant, impact fees, and transferred funds from the general fund.
The purpose of the feasibility study was to analyze market conditions and recommend changes to the project. The study recommended changing the 138 sites to 45 pull-thru sites, which is about one third of the original plan which was to cost $1.7 million and $2.3 million over the original cost for a campground one third the size. The study also highlighted items not budgeted in the $2.7 million construction cost, including improving entrances and building a bridge entrance which was estimated at about $4 million by the Public Works Director.
During the City Council meeting, there were several public comments made by citizens, all in opposition to moving forward with the campground. Ultimately, the City Council tabled the item and will revisit the issue when more information is available.
You can watch the full 1 hour and 7 minute discussion here: