5th Street West, Palmetto Florida, Press Release


The City of Palmetto is implementing a comprehensive urban scale “green street” pilot program – a first
for a downtown redevelopment area in Florida. The area is rapidly transforming from asphalt to pervious
pavement and green space. The 5th Street LID Implementation phase is scheduled for completion by
October 2012. The main objective is create a prototype for pedestrian oriented streets, enhances
aesthetics, provides for low impact parking, and improves the quality of storm water runoff. This
project demonstrates innovative applications for existing public streets as well as demonstrates how
redevelopment sites can meet regulatory requirements without reliance on land-consuming storm water
ponds.
Local architect Charlie Ugarte saw the need for a “more integrated and sustainable approach to
redevelopment of downtown Palmetto” and found an ally in the Palmetto Community Redevelopment
Agency (CRA). It just didn’t make sense to use car centric suburban planning for pedestrian based urban
infill. Together they strategized to make this a reality. The Master Plan for the 5th Street project was
designed in a collaborative effort between Ugarte and Associates, Inc. and Ekistics Design Studio, Inc.,
Florida pioneers in Low Impact Development since 1988. The concept was consistent with the existing
Downtown Development Guidelines and received enthusiastic support from the Mayor, CRA Board and
City Commission. The group teamed with Florida storm water specialists, Applied Sciences, Inc. to
develop final site construction plans for this two block section of downtown Palmetto.
NDC Construction Company is currently managing the construction.
A wide variety of low impact development tools were employed together to create a unique urban scale
green solution. Techniques include street front mixed use redevelopment, pedestrian connectivity,
permeable paving, street narrowing and traffic calming, curb line landscape infiltration basins, bioswales,
elevated roof drain planter boxes, rain gardens and a green gutter. Simple solutions took
precedence over the complicated or experimental. “We employed a deliberate “low tech” approach that
resulted in the minimization of hard infrastructure and the maximization of green infrastructure.”
emphasized Tom Levin of Ekistics.
The 5th Street project is intended as a redevelopment model for both public streets and private lands
within this highly urbanized watershed. The CRA is currently implementing an incentive based program
for downtown businesses to employ improvements that enhance economic development and
environmental quality in the Redevelopment Area. Local stakeholders have been involved and support
this project including the City Commissioners, CRA, Planning and Zoning and Public Works. This
project was conceived and funded through a cooperative effort between the City of Palmetto Community
Redevelopment Agency and the Southwest Florida Water Management District. There is great potential
to influence other urban areas that have difficulty improving storm water in the process of promoting
redevelopment.