Depot park project begins

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Plans for Callahan’s Depot Park are moving forward.  The town’s public works employees recently installed water and sewer lines and filled in ditches near Dixie Avenue. The site is adjacent to the historic Callahan Train Depot.  The building’s $120,000 first phase will be...

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  • Callahan Public Works employee Ryan Everly unloads gravel recently near water and sewer lines along Dixie Avenue as co-worker Marty Johnson directs him. Photo by Kathie Colgrove
    Callahan Public Works employee Ryan Everly unloads gravel recently near water and sewer lines along Dixie Avenue as co-worker Marty Johnson directs him. Photo by Kathie Colgrove
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Plans for Callahan’s Depot Park are moving forward. 

The town’s public works employees recently installed water and sewer lines and filled in ditches near Dixie Avenue. The site is adjacent to the historic Callahan Train Depot. 

The building’s $120,000 first phase will be funded by Community Development Block Grants. Funds from the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program will also be sought as the project moves along. 

“We hope to have a stage and restrooms there and build out from that,” Callahan Mayor Marty Fontes said, adding that construction could begin this summer. 

Florida Power and Light has already donated $10,000 toward the project, which could take a few years to complete. 

The venue will also be utilized by the public, including theatre and band students from West Nassau High School. The goal is to balance the building’s aesthetics with available funds. 

“Don’t expect anything great to begin with,” Fontes said, adding, “We hope that other people and private grants will step in.” 

The mayor said that the town is set for growth. 

The Callahan Town Council voted unanimously on first reading April 6 to approve Ordinance 2020-O02. The measure amends small-scale structures within the town’s comprehensive plan to provide zoning for a proposed Wyndham hotel, with Brenton Franklin overseeing construction.  The second public hearing is Monday at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held via telephone conference. Call 800-371-9219 the enter ID code 1215512 at the prompt.

Fontes said a hotel is needed so that guests don’t have to drive elsewhere for accommodations. 

“It’ll be jobs,” he added. “It will be housekeeping and everything else.” 

Franklin recently opened a new 73-unit apartment complex on Ewing Park Road, which is beginning to fill, according to Fontes. 

Additional housing is planned as New Leaf Construction will deliver a 66-unit duplex of 33 buildings that contain two one-story units behind Full Circle Animal Hospital.  

“They’ve been doing their engineering,” Fontes said. “Everything takes time.”

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t slowed the town’s momentum, according to Fontes. 

“We’re open,” he said. “People can still come in and pay their bills and get permits and do whatever they need to do. We’re being careful and we’re disinfecting. But we’re also not running scared.” 

kcolgrove@nassaucountyrecord.com