Re-Elect Debbie Thomas

Melbourne City Council, District 4

 

 

 

Proven Leadership for the Harbor City

Proven and Accomplished Leadership for Melbourne

INDIAN RIVER LAGOON

Stormwater Project

During Debbie’s term on the Melbourne City Council, she has supported and advocated for a number of initiatives aimed at restoring the health of the Indian River Lagoon.  During her tenure, the City of Melbourne implemented a comprehensive plan for reducing nutrient loading into the Indian River Lagoon. The plan includes improvements to the City’s stormwater drainage system; treating runoff through a system of retention facilities, baffle boxes, wetlands, rain gardens, and exfiltration systems; collecting stormwater fees to finance the program; coordinating with the St. Johns River Water Management District, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and other agencies in regulating stormwater discharges to the Indian River Lagoon.  The City is also working with Brevard County and other municipalities within the county to continue public education about stormwater and the effects of pollution. Improvements are funded by the stormwater utility fee and by grants.

Eau Gallie River Basin

One of the most important projects that was supported by Debbie Thomas and approved by the City Council during her term was the first ever muck removal project from the Eau Gallie River Basin.

On Jan. 25, 2017, a hydraulic dredge began pumping muck from the bottom of the Eau Gallie River in Melbourne — a tributary of the Indian River Lagoon — to a containment area a few miles away on land owned by Brevard County.

Muck is a mix of fine-grained sediments, sand, clay and organic matter (decaying leaves, grass and other plant material) contained in untreated storm water runoff that drains to canals and storm drains connected to the Eau Gallie River.  Muck deposits from storm water runoff is a common problem throughout the lagoon.

This historic project is possible through the St. Johns River Water Management District’s partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND), Brevard County and the city of Melbourne.  When the project wraps up in late fall 2018, approximately 632,000 cubic yards of muck will have been removed from the main stem of the 3.9-mile-long Eau Gallie River, as well as the southern branch of the river known as Elbow Creek. 

INFRASTRUCTURE

Water Pipes

In 2018 the City of Melbourne, with the support of Debbie Tomas, proactively addressed issues with water pipes that delivered City of Melbourne water from the mainland to the beachside.  This was done to prevent water delivery issues that occurred with the City of Cocoa following Hurricane Irma.  The City of Melbourne hired a company to examine pipes that cross the Melbourne Causeway. They immediately stabilized pipes, minimizing the potential for future issues.

Roads

In 2015, the first year that Debbie Thomas served on the Melbourne City Council, she supported a vote that set aside money specifically for road resurfacing.  The City of Melbourne brought in an outside company that evaluated all of the roads in city of Melbourne.  The company graded each road and ranked them in the order of their conditions.  The company then identified which roads needed to be repaved and which roads needed to be reconstructed.  The current budget, which is anticipated to be approved in September, includes an additional allocation of over $1 million towards road improvements, over and above what has already been allocated. 

Debbie has also been an integral part of an effort to improve Babcock Street in an area that is currently owned by Brevard County.  Debbie took a collaborative approach and met with the Brevard County Commission to identify how to best address the poor conditions of the county-owned portion of Babcock Street.  The result of this meeting was that Brevard County agreed to pay $500,000 towards road improvement.  The City of Melbourne was able to obtain an additional sum of roughly $300,000 from Brevard County to repair the pipes on the section of the county-owned roads.

Apollo Road Extension

The Apollo extension from Sarno Road to Eau Gallie was opened during Debbie Thomas’s first term on Melbourne City Council.  The S-curved, 650-foot-long Apollo Boulevard bridge spanning the Eau Gallie River opened as a rare-to-Melbourne north-south commuter route, reducing rush-hour traffic congestion on U.S. 1 and Wickham Road.  The Apollo extension and new bridge have greatly relieved rush hour traffic by connecting two arterial roadways.  The Apollo extension is also anticipated to accommodate future traffic demands, alleviating traffic on alternate parallel streets such as U.S. 1 and Croton Road.  In addition, the intersection improvements at each of the intersections at Sarno/Apollo and Apollo/Eau Gallie/Commodore will provide intersection capacity and provide much safer pedestrian access to high school for students and recreational users alike, further enhancing the city’s overall roadway, pedestrian and bicycle network.

 

DEVELOPMENT

Debbie Thomas has been instrumental in supporting and approving several development projects that will transform Melbourne and make it more appealing to businesses and visitors. 

 

US 1 Marina Property

One development project that was supported by Debbie Thomas and approved by Melbourne City Council was the sale of waterfront land off of US-1 to River Walk Marina Partners, LLC for $2,000,000.00.  This land was purchased by the City of Melbourne for $1,375,000.00 in 2013.   This is a public-private partnership that will greatly enhance Melbourne and surrounding areas.  Plans call for construction of a roughly 100-room riverfront hotel, a 7,000-square-foot national chain restaurant, two 2,500-square-foot restaurants, and an Indian River Lagoon marina operated by a partner company, with roughly 20 percent of the spaces in the marina available for public use.  Projected investment by the developer is in the range of $25 million to $30 million.

Highline Apartments

Debbie Thomas also supported the development of the Highline apartment complex in Downtown Melbourne. Melbourne City Council approved a master redevelopment agreement for the $29.5 million housing tower.  Council members also approved a site plan for the eight-story, 96-foot building with a two-level parking garage.  The Highline project is conservatively projected to add $15 million of taxable property to Melbourne’s tax roll. The structure will contain 171 apartments ranging from studios to two-bedroom, two-bathroom corner units. Projected average monthly rent: $1,311.  A restaurant and two smaller retail-commercial units will occupy the ground floor, while the second floor will include a swimming pool. 

City officials expect roughly 200 residents with a median income near $60,000 — including engineers with Northrop Grumman and Embraer — to move into the heart of the historic downtown after the Highline apartment complex is built at the old Melbourne High site.  This project is anticipated to be transformational for Downtown Melbourne and increase property values.  The project includes the building of sidewalks, lighted walkways, and provides for parking, which will further benefit Downtown Melbourne.

Downtown Melbourne Hotel

Debbie Thomas supported the development of a hotel in Downtown Melbourne, which was recently approved by the Melbourne City Council.  Slated for the southeast corner of Strawbridge Avenue and Waverly Place, the 11-story boutique hotel will feature 156 rooms and 170 parking spaces.  The hotel is anticipated to create 42 to 50 full-time jobs.  The Tapestry Collection by Hilton ground floor will contain the lobby, a coffee shop and parking spaces. Three parking levels will rise above it, topped by six floors of guest rooms. On the rooftop, a ballroom will spill out onto an open wraparound terrace, connecting with an indoor-outdoor lounge that will be open to the public.  Hotel guests are projected to spend $8.8 million per year during their stays, not including lodging costs.  It is anticipated that these 156 rooms will bring business people to Melbourne and show that development and improvement in our area is profitable and successful as well as a great place to live and work.

Wawa Store

Debbie Thomas supported the approval for the development of two new Wawa gas stations in the City of Melbourne.  The development of both Wawas was approved by Melbourne City Council.  One opened in December 2017 and is located at the intersection of Eau Gallie Boulevard and John Rodes Boulevard.  The second Wawa is anticipated to open on September 30th, and is located at US-1 and Strawbridge Avenue, which will be open in late September of 2018.  Part of the project involved Wawa donating land to construct a new Strawbridge Avenue right-turn lane for westbound motorists who are heading north on U.S. 1. Today’s right-turn lane will become a second westbound thru lane.

 

Golf Courses

During Debbie Thomas’ first term on City Council, the Council approved extensive improvements on the two city-owned golf courses.  When she first came on council, the golf courses were not financially viable.  The City of Melbourne hired a new Parks and Recreation director who made improvements and staff changes, and which reached the point where the golf courses are now self-sustaining. 

 

Golf Courses

During Debbie Thomas’ first term on City Council, the Council approved extensive improvements on the two city-owned golf courses.  When she first came on council, the golf courses were not financially viable.  The City of Melbourne hired a new Parks and Recreation director who made improvements and staff changes, and which reached the point where the golf courses are now self-sustaining. 

 

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Debbie Thomas, candidate for Melbourne City Council, District 4.