Lift station changes discussed at public workshop

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SARASOTA, Fla. – A public workshop discussing the controversial lift station project planned for downtown Sarasota was held Monday morning.

Construction for Lift Station 87 at Luke Wood Park near the U.S. 41/301 split has stopped and started for years. And people living nearby recently learned the project will now cost $27 million, which is well over the original estimate.

Monday morning, the city commission held a public workshop on the lift station. Engineers working on the sewage project talked about their vulnerability analysis, they also presented renderings for the facility.

"There's been a change in direction in what we're trying to do in the design of the lift station to make it more reliable from a long term in operation and maintenance perspective," said project manager Steve Topovski.

One of the changes discussed was the ability of the lift station to handle a Category 3 hurricane.  Engineers and residents alike agreed this was a high level of importance.  "The situation has changed and the frustration is there, and my frustration is that this has just come up about the hurricane protection.  This is very important and it's a good thing they're doing that," said resident Donna Gannon-Coe.

Commissioner Susan Chapman feels if this issue is not addressed, it can be a messy situation in the future.  "Do you want sewage running down your streets or not?  Back in 2005, I was president of a neighborhood where a lift station failed and sewage was running down the streets and into our bay."

The engineering team hopes by communicating with residents and businesses by providing advance notices will help minimize the impacts of construction.