North Port Currents Redesign

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North Port Currents is sent to every home inside the City of North Port on a quarterly basis. In January 2011, the City launched a redesign of the newsletter that featured more photos, a calendar of events, and more content.



Winter 2011

Improving the quality of life along Sumter Boulevard
For many North Port residents, Sumter Boulevard is a linear walking park. With weaving sidewalks and decorative street lamps, gazebos, and benches, it is not uncommon to see residents enjoying an evening stroll, walking their dogs, rollerblading or bicycling along this major roadway. Improvements will continue to be made along this gateway road throughout the next several months. The roadway improvements are designed to help with traffic flow and also improve the quality of life for North Port residents. In the first quarter of 2011, the City of North Port will complete the construction about one-third of a mile of Sumter, from City Center Boulevard to Hansard Avenue. This short stretch will include improvements to the bridge and many of the same enhancements found in the other widened sections. The cost of the project was approximately $3 million, with just under $1.5 million funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The

remainder is funded by City of North Port’s transportation impact fee revenue.

The City of North Port also intends to begin construction from Hansard Avenue to Morandi Avenue, which is estimated to cost $2.2 million. The construction is being paid for by the transportation impact fees collected for Sarasota County within the City and from transportation impact fees collected by the City. (This means that the funding for this roadway is not coming out of ad valorem dollars paid by homeowners. Impact fees are monies collected from new development and are only allowed to be used

on capital improvement projects that increase the capacity of system that is impacted by development, such as roadway improvements, parks, fire stations, police or solid waste.) The final stretch of Sumter Boulevard, from Heron Creek to City Center Boulevard, is estimated to cost $9 million and is currently unfunded. The City of North Port is proud of the improvements to Sumter Boulevard and wants to thank North Port residents for their patience as the improvements continue to be made to enhance this up-and-coming community.


February 5, 2011

February 19, 2011

Check out the interactive calendar!
The City of North Port’s website features an interactive calendar in which you can find events, add them to your OutLook calendar and share them with your friends and family on your social media network. Visit

North Port Newcomer Day

Women’s EXPO of SWFL

10 a.m. to noon, North Port Library

9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Morgan Family Community Center

Green Acomplishments:

Looking Back at 2010

Planning for an energy efficient future
The City of North Port began in 2010 to develop a sustainability plan for an energy efficient future. The plan will include both broad and specific recommendations and strategies to address the City’s projected development throughout the next 15 years. The goals of the plan include an overall emission reduction, energy savings, and conservation of the area’s natural resources. The funding for this project came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As part of the process to develop this plan, the City launched a Green Transformation Survey, which can be found on the City’s website. North Port also intends to create a citizen task force to provide valuable ideas to include in the plan. For more information or to take the survey, visit www.cityofnorthport. com or call (941) 429-7234.

City saves with recycling program
In late 2010, the City of North Port Solid Waste Division notched up the mandatory recycling program. Beginning in November, the City’s Solid Waste Division began giving friendly reminders to residents who are not actively recycling. “By just placing all recyclables in the recycling bins instead of the garbage, residents can optimize our existing collection system, which benefits everyone. What’s here today can be reused tomorrow,” said Monica Bramble, Solid Waste Manager. Since the City has enacted a mandatory recycling ordinance, the City has seen an increase of more than 948 tons of recycling per year. This means the City is saving more than $38,600 per year in garbage disposal fees and is keeping residents’ annual Solid Waste District fees from increasing, despite the increased cost in fuel, tires, and other factors. The environmental aspect is just as important; 948 tons of material is now available as a resource as opposed to being dumped in a landfill. Residents who need free recycling bins can request them through the Customer Service office at (941) 240-8050 or through email at [email protected].

Get Energy Smart Retrofit Program

North Port homeowners can get rebates, low-interest loans and free energy-saving kits to upgrade their properties with energy saving technologies under a new program. Visit or call (941) 429-7084.

City wins awards for website

The City of North Port website received a Gold Award for its website in MarCom Awards’ 2010 international awards competition. The City’s website also received a 3CMA Award of Excellence earlier this year. Visit

Solar panels used to power ambulances
North Port Fire Rescue incorporated two new ambulances into its fleet in early 2010 that were equipped with solar panels on the roof. Normally, when an ambulance is pulled into the fire station garage, it is plugged into an electric power source to keep all equipment charged. In this case, solar panels will augment that power to help maintain the charge on the equipment when the vehicles are out of the station. “The use of solar power in our emergency apparatus is in keeping with our commitment to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money and the environment, while providing the best equipment possible for our paramedics,” said Fire Rescue Chief Bill Taaffe. The purchase of these ambulances balances the need for patient care and comfort, responder safety, and long term durability while maintaining fiscal responsibility. The vehicles were purchased for less than $151,000 each with funds provided by the one cent sales tax. In 2010, the City of North Port also broke ground on a new fire station on Citizens Parkway. Like the Fire Rescue Station on North Port Boulevard, the new station will have many green features incorporated to cut long term operation costs.

City making more reclaimed water
In 2010, the City of North Port celebrated the completion of a $20 million expansion of its Wastewater Treatment Plant. The wastewater treatment plant’s new facelift includes upgrades to the treatment process that will further improve the water quality of reclaimed water and greatly increase the reclaimed water available for reuse in landscape irrigation and similar, non-potable uses. “Using reclaimed water is definitely an environmentally sound way to irrigate plants,” said Utilities Director Cindi Mick. Already, the City is using reuse water to irrigate landscaping along Sumter Boulevard and inside the City Center campus. The City also provides reuse water to Sabal Trace and Heron Creek golf courses. North Port residents approved a referendum in 2006 that enabled the City to finance this project. The City of North Port acquired State Revolving Loan Funding, which saved the City millions of dollars. For more information call 240-8000.


Helping the economy

Danielle Santoro, a recent North Port Entrepreneurial Academy graduate, and her partners, Stephani Faulkner and Daniela Sawalt, recently received the City’s first Small Business Assistance Loan. Santoro’s business, GreenBidNet is a subscription based service to elec-

tronically notify environmental contractors and engineers of municipal “green” projects that are out for bid. GreenBidNet is expected to employ three North Port residents to start and expand to five positions before the end of 2011. To find out more about the Entrepreneurial Academy or the Small Business Assistance Loan program, visit the City’s website at

City Commission Chair Jim Blucher: “In 2011, I am looking forward to the economy to start a turnaround so that people can get back to work.”


City Commissioner Linda Yates: “I’m looking forward to citizens really coming together to address the issues and provide solutions to the challenges ahead.”

City Commission Vice Chair Tom Jones “2011 will see the completion of wonderful projects and the beginning of others that will rocket North Port into the future. I want us all to work together and keep that momentum growing.”

City Commissioner David Garofalo “My goal in 2011 is to engage others that may not be so involved in local government. It is absolutely necessary for us to have involvement from our citizens for us to move forward at any capacity.”

City Commissioner Michael Treubert: “I am looking forward to a new management team and getting North Port headed back in the right direction through this economic downturn.”

Vote for the Greenest Citizen Award!

Last year, North Port resident Sandi Bevill, a local teacher, was voted online as the winner of the City’s Greenest Citizen Award. Her award nomination said that she “is an outstanding preschool teacher who is enthusiastic about her recycling projects and all things green.”

This year, nominations were made by the public in December. Voting will take place in January and the winner will be announced on January 21, 2010 during the City’s Arbor Day celebration at Lamarque Elementary School. “Arbor Day is important because it raises the awareness of the importance of trees. Trees improve our

environment by increasing air and water quality, conserving energy and more. They increase property values, create wildlife habitats, and add beauty to any setting,” said City Arborist Ryan Pieper. To vote, go to www.cityofnorthport. com and take a survey under the “I want to…” menu option.



City of North Port 4970 City Hall Boulevard North Port, FL 34286


Helping Businesses Thrive: Entrepreneurs invited to learn new skills
Local business owners who are looking for ways to improve their businesses can use their lunch hour to learn new skills. The City of North Port will once again offer free lunchtime workshops to help business owners sharpen their entrepreneurial skills. The 2011 version of the popular Lunch & Learn series will continue through October. The workshops will feature timely topics designed to help business owners improve their competitive edge during the current economic climate. All sessions will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 244 at the North Port City Hall, 4970 City Hall Blvd, North Port, FL 34286. Lunch & Learn is a component of the City’s Small Business Assistance Program which was created to increase the number, size, and capacity of businesses in the City of North Port. Last year, the Lunch & Learn sessions attracted nearly 150 participants and received support from SCORE, Florida Gulf Coast University, the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce,

Spring 2011

Playful City USA
The City of North Port is one of 118 cities and towns across the country that earned recognition as a 2010 Playful City USA from KaBOOM!, which is a national not-for-profit organization committed to providing time and space for America’s children to play. With 23 parks spread throughout the City’s 105-square-miles, the City of North Port offers a number of outdoor activities for any age. Residents will find playgrounds, ball fields, tennis and basketball courts, picnic shelters, walking trails, indoor activity centers, boat ramps, and more. Within recent years, the City has invested nearly $600,000 in new playground equipment, picnic shelters, parking lot resurfacing, soccer field lighting, and more. With a Playful City USA designation, the City of North Port has pulled together a committee of dedicated residents and business owners willing to donate their time toward enhancing the park experience. The Playful City USA Committee has been working diligently on a number of activities to promote opportunities for families to play. Included in that work are a number of neighborhood park events. An event will be organized this Spring to highlight Kirk Park. The Committee also is working on hosting a Play Day in September. “We are going to continue our efforts through promotions and let people

the Florida Small Business Development Center, State College of Florida, the University of South Florida, and the Small Business Development Services, LLC. There will be a minimal cost to attend. A complete schedule is available at Because of limited seating, participants are asked to RSVP by registering online at or by calling Donna Suggs at (941) 429-7240.

Residents can watch City videos on iTunes, YouTube, and the City’s website

North Port residents can now watch City videos on iTunes, YouTube, and the City’s website. For more than a year, the City has streamed its City Commission meetings live on the City’s website.

Past meetings are also available to be viewed. Residents can now subscribe, for free, to the City’s podcast on iTunes and watch City Commission meetings. With the new upgrades, residents also can watch the City’s half-hour television show, “North Port Presents: The View From Here” on the City’s website. (The show will con-

tinue to air every Monday at 5 p.m. on Comcast Channel 189). The City of North Port launched a YouTube channel last year and has already posted several public service announcements and other special programming. For more information, visit




know where there are play stations and the types of amenities we have at our parks,” said Parks and Recreation Manager Bill Ward.

This is the first time that North Port has been recognized in the Playful City USA program. To learn more about the City of North Port’s Parks and Recreation Division, visit or call (941) 429-PARK(7275).

City of North Port 4970 City Hall Boulevard North Port, FL 34286


April 2

May 14

June 18

The Canine Club Family Paw Park

Canine Awareness and Health Fair 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Garden of the Five Senses

2nd Nature Environmental Festival 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

McKibben Park

Kids Fishing Tournament and Fishing Clinic 8 a.m. to noon

City rehabilitates local roadways


The City of North Port will begin this Spring to rehabilitate between 16 to 19 miles of local roads. This is part of an ongoing effort by the Public Works Department to rehabilitate the more than 500 miles of local roads that are in need of repair. The North Port City Commission approved $2.3 million this year for the project. Through a comprehensive selection process, neighborhoods were identified off Biscayne Boulevard, south of Price Boulevard; off South Salford Boulevard, south of Price Boulevard; along Glenallen Boulevard from Price to Biscayne Boulevards; and an area along Pan American Boulevard, north of U.S. 41. The City of North Port rehabilitated 27 miles of local roads last year, 17 miles in 2009, and 138 miles in 2008 and 2007 (which was the largest road project in the City’s history).

Citizen of the Year

Achieve Anything: North Port residents, employees recognized

Andy Gerberich was selected as the Citizen of the Year for his community spirit and personal commitment to the quality of life in North Port. Andy donates much of his time and resources to local organizations. His help is instrumental at community events and activities. Andy also is known for his role in enhancing parks and creating new recreational opportunities as Chair of the City of North Port’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. “He has to be one of the friendliest people I know,” said a nominee about Andy. “Whenever there is an event in North Port, Andy is there to help out.” Each year, the North Port residents

City improves water control structures to prevent flooding

In a continuing effort to improve water flow and prevent neighborhood flooding, the City of North Port is reconstructing many of the water control structures found throughout the City’s more than 80 miles of freshwater canals. Currently, work is being done to improve Water Control Structure 132, located near Jeannin Drive and Johannesberg Road. The City is removing the corrugated metal pipe, installing three new reinforced concrete pipes and a new fixed weir. The $460,000 project is being paid for by the Road and Drainage District assessments. The City’s water control structures maintain the waterways at a certain desired elevation (much like a dam) to allow the storm water to be treated and flow out of the area without flooding surrounding areas. This is the ninth water control structure that has been improved since 2007.

nominate candidates for the Citizen of the Year. This program was established to acknowledge and show appreciation to citizens who, over the past year, have exhibited generous community spirit. The Citizen of the Year was announced at an annual awards luncheon on Thursday, January 27, 2011 in conjunction with the City’s Employee Service Recog-

nition Program. Congratulations to all the nominees for Citizen of the Year, including Nicholas Bonsky, Margie Ducharme, Jill Luke, Bob Renaud, Justin Matthews, Ann Sineath, James Thiele, and John Wrublevsky.

Employees recognized for achievement
Aaron Bourquin, network analyst in the Information & Technology Division, and Diane Martin, staff assistant in Public Works, received Customer Service Awards. Richard Berman, emergency management coordinator for Fire Rescue, received the Innovation Award. Police Officer Robert Davidson was awarded the Community Service Award. Deputy Chief Scott Titus, Fire Rescue, was the recipient of the Leadership Award. For more information, visit the City’s website at .

Employee of the Year
Darrell Smith, construction coordinator for North Port Utilities, was named the Employee of the Year for his dedication to making the City run as efficiently as possible. Darrell always has a positive attitude and his work ethic invigorates the workplace. He is an outstanding employee who takes on responsibilities that are above and beyond his regular job duties.

Greenest Citizen Award
Karen Cramer received the Greenest Citizen Award, sponsored by the City’s Building Department. Cramer, a fourth/fifth grade science teacher, led an environmental club at Glenallen Elementary for 11 years and at Cranberry Elementary for eight years. She continues to lead the school club in a number of activities, including road clean-ups, parades, community plantings, benefit drives, and more.

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Interested in taking a leadership role in your community? Joining a City advisory board is an excellent way to get your voice heard. For more information, contact the City Clerk’s Office at (941) 4297064 or visit

Residents encouraged to evaluate the risk of flooding
Florida’s climate means that we often see major rain events and tropical systems that can significantly impact our lives. The City of North Port is encouraging all North Port residents to evaluate the potential risk of flooding for your property and better prepare. Flooding in our City is primarily caused by heavy rains associated with various weather systems, including frontal passages, intense summer thunderstorms, and the rains and storm surge associated with tropical systems. As mapped by FEMA on September 1981 Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), the City’s Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) is located primarily near the Myakkahatchee Creek, which flows north to south through the City, and along the Myakka River. In these areas, floodwaters can cover streets and yards with little warning. Past rain events have seen portions of major roadways such as Sumter Boulevard and local roads in the North Port Estates being rendered impassable due to flood waters. The City continues to pursue options to upgrade the City’s stormwater system and better handle such situations. In recent years, the City has focused its attention on repairing failing water control structures, prioritizing canals for dredging,
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Summer 2011

High quality drinking water
The City of North Port’s Myakkahatchee Creek Water Treatment Plant recently was named the best water plant for its size in Florida by the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association.

cleaning up canals and ditches, and working with the Southwest Florida Water Management District on more accurate flood mapping. However, there are actions that you can take to become better informed about the flood issue and how to better protect yourself and your property. The City has posted a wealth of information at Click on the Flood Information menu item under the Planning, Zoning, and Engineering Department. You can also contact Elizabeth Wong, the City’s Stormwater Manager, at (941) 429-7090 or at [email protected].

This summer, the City of North Port will make upgrades to further improve the quality of the water and create a high-quality water system that will be reliable year round. The water treatment facility, located off of North Port Boulevard, was originally constructed by General Development Company in the 1950s. The plant is strategically located on property that borders the intersection of the Myakkahatchee Creek and the Cocoplum Canal, two of the City’s major sources of drinking water. The water treatment plant is a surface water plant and treats the water from the canal and creek for drinking. “Our water plant has been around for a long time,” said Cindi Mick, Utilities Director. “Our staff certainly needs to be complimented on operating an extremely labor intensive plant and ensuring the plant runs as efficiently as it does.”

Servicing more than 18,000 customers, North Port Utilities is consistently looking at ways to improve its operations and water quality. This summer, the City of North Port will celebrate the groundbreaking of a new groundwater and reverse osmosis system, which will be constructed and integrated into the existing water treatment facility. The project will create an additional source of drinking water for North Port and help maintain good water quality, particularly during the dry months. Currently, the City pulls water from the Peace River during the drier times of the year. While the new upgrade is not expected to replace the Peace River, the City will be able to produce high-quality drinking water from its own water supplies year round. This will mean less water will be pulled from the Peace River, especially during drier periods. This also translates into long term cost savings because the cost to produce water locally requires less pumping and, thus, less energy, Mick said. The new groundwater and reverse osmosis system will draw water from wells, which will be constructed near

City graduates first 28 North Port Ambassadors
The City of North Port graduated 28 volunteers as part of a newly created Ambassador Program. The new Ambassadors will become directly involved in marketing North Port as a choice location for business, leisure, and a residential lifestyle.

The North Port Ambassador Program was developed by a group of local residents, business owners, students, and City staff. The idea behind the program is to provide an opportunity for community stakeholders to spread knowledge about North Port’s assets. To complete the program, the graduates attended a three hour bus tour of North Port and a three hour class.

The program is open to North Port residents, both full-time and parttime; business owners; members of community organizations; and anyone who would like to promote the City. For more information, visit the City’s website at or contact Donna Suggs in the City Manager’s Office at (941) 429-7240 or at [email protected].

the existing water treatment plant. The well water will be treated by reverse osmosis to reduce the levels of chlorides and other dissolved solids. The highly-treated water will then be combined with the treated surface water from the City’s surface water plant to achieve the best taste and water quality. The water then will be distributed to North Port Utilities customers. “The blend of the two is a beautiful mix,” Mick said. “Citizens will be proud of the water quality and taste.” Construction is expected to begin as early as August and will be completed by Summer 2012. For more information, call (941) 240-8000.




City of North Port 4970 City Hall Boulevard North Port, FL 34286


August 2

August 13

September 24

National Night Out

Back to School Resource Fair

Family Fun Day

6 p.m. to 9 p.m. North Port High School

9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Morgan Family Community Center

Time to be Announced Highland Ridge Park

New Achievements:

Morgan Family Community Center

Fire Rescue Station 84

The North Port City Commission, along with the community, celebrated the grand opening of the new Morgan Family Community Center in early June. The new 33,300 square foot center targets youth activities but is a multi-use facility to meet the interests of the entire community. The center features an expanded gymnasium, state-of-the-art fitness center, teen lounge, game room, large multi-purpose room, ample meeting space, a dance room, full kitchen, and an outdoor social area. The facility, situated in Butler Park, 6207 West Price Boulevard, is located next to Heron Creek Middle School and across the street from North Port High School. The total cost of the project was nearly $10 million (which included construction of the community center, outdoor basketball court, new road access, additional parking, and site improvements for a future aquatic facility). Funding came from the sale of escheated lots and the City’s general fund. For more information, call (941) 429-PARK.

The City of North Port will soon celebrate the opening of a new Fire Rescue Station 84 on Citizens Parkway. The station is located behind the Publix shopping plaza near Price Boulevard and Toledo Blade Boulevard. For the past several years, Fire Rescue Station 84 has been operating out of a modular building on the Public Works property near the corner of Price and Chamberlain Boulevards. The new facility will be named in honor of Captain Earl Conrad, who passed away earlier this year. In addition to housing a 75 foot ladder truck and an ambulance, the new 11,700-square-foot facility will house the City’s Technical Rescue Team and will be used as the supply headquarters for the Fire Rescue District. Space has been provided for hoses, nozzles, firefighting foam, equipment, gear, and supplies. A helipad is located behind the station for emergency purposes. Funding for the $2.1 million project came from a combination of impact fees and one cent sales tax dollars. For more information, call (941) 240-8150.

Atwater Community Park

The North Port City Commission opened a new baseball complex at Atwater Community Park at the end of June. The community park includes four Little League fields, one “major league” field, a two-story concession building, a picnic facility, and walking trails. The 25-acre parcel is adjacent to Atwater Elementary School with access off East Price Boulevard via Song Street. Funding for the park totaled over $4.8 million from impact fees, one cent surtax and the City’s general fund. Future phases of construction are planned for the park as additional funding becomes available that may include a playground facility and a splash park. This park is the first park to be constructed east of Cranberry Boulevard. The park also provides the North Port Area Little League organization the opportunity to host tournaments and further grow their program. For more information, call (941) 429-PARK.

Fleet Maintenance Facility

The City recently broke ground on a new Fleet Maintenance Facility at the Public Works Department’s complex located at the northeast corner of Price and Chamberlain Boulevards. The new 37,500-square-foot facility will take about a year to construct. The building will house the Fleet Division and the City Public Works Department’s administration. Along with the 12 work bays, the facility will include 15,000-square-foot of office space, a fueling station, a washing station, and more. The North Port City Commission awarded the contract in February 2011 to Mills-Gilbane in the amount of $6,223,269. The funding to build the facility is being pulled from the City’s general fund, road and drainage district fees, fire rescue district fees, the City’s utility enterprise fund, and solid waste district fees. Since the early 1980s, the City’s Fleet Division has operated out of a facility off Pan American Boulevard. Fleet inventory has increased from 150 vehicles in the early 1980s to more than 500 today. For more information call (941) 240-8050.


Watch Commission meetings

2012 Fiscal Year Budget

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The City of North Port offers live streaming video of the North Port City Commission meetings at Stay engaged while in the comfort of your own home.

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The City of North is in the process of developing the 2012 Fiscal Year Budget. Budget workshops are scheduled for July 20-21, 2011, during which the North Port City Commission will set the maximum millage rate. For more information, visit or call (941) 429-7107.

Police Department adds new K-9 to unit

The North Port Police Department added a new canine to its K-9 unit. Cammo, a Belgian Malinois, will take the place of K-9 Gino, who is retiring. The funds to purchase Cammo were donated by Larry Disparti,

an attorney from the Tampa/New Port Richey area. Disparti, who has family in law enforcement, believes that the K-9 Unit is a very important element in Law Enforcement. For more information, contact the North Port Police Department at (941) 429-7300 or visit

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