Jailhouse Foundation Slows Riverfront Project -Palatka | Environment

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Jailhouse Foundation Slows Riverfront Project -Palatka
Jailhouse Foundation Slows Riverfront Project  -Palatka

PALATKA, FL- Contractors discovered the foundation of the Old Putnam County Jailhouse while working on the $1.1 million project near the Memorial Bridge on Highway 17 in Palatka. The project is set to improve the riverfront drainage, landscaping and parking according to Palatka City Manager Woody Boynton.

Construction workers were installing storm drainage pipes designed by the St. John's River Water Management District. When they began to dig the first thing they hit was a concrete slab estimated to be about 20 feet long by 20 feet wide, and about a foot thick according to Boynton.

Locals tell him that the concrete footer was used for a bungee jump attraction at the Blue Crab Festival years ago (an annual tradition in Palatka). Upon further investigation, I found out from a long time resident who helped build the prison in 1963 that this slab was in fact used as a parking lot for the old jailhouse.

After construction workers dug this slab up and removed it, they discovered another concrete footer, approximately 65 feet long, 16 feet wide and about 2 feet deep which was once the foundation of the Old Putnam County Jailhouse.

The footer caused a dilemma as it was in the middle of the path for the flow line for drainage on the new Riverfront Project. All of the piping and culverts had been pre measured, cut to precise sizes, and delivered to the site previous to this discovery. Having to return these materials and have them redesigned would prove costly.

The contractors attempted to remove a portion of the foundation, as to lay the drainage piping as planned, but ran into more problems. As the workers began to cut the slab into small pieces with a large concrete saw to remove it from the site, large air pockets (hollow spaces) were discovered in the concrete making them reconsider “just removing a portion” of the large concrete slab.

Boynyon estimates that the cost of removal of this huge concrete slab will add to the project the cost of approximately $2,500.

The Downtown Riverfront improvement Project is aimed at improved parking conditions and more attractive street scaping. The project is expected to be finished sometime in the Winter of 2011.

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