FloridaTrend.com, the Website for Florida Business

Water Works

Palm Bay hopes an innovative, campus-style complex housing administrative and other services can keep it abreast of its explosive growth.

In the 46 years since it was incorporated, Palm Bay has become the largest city in Brevard County, the ninth-largest in Florida geographically, and the 21st-largest in population. This year, the city will annex land in the southern portion of the county that will extend the city's borders to the Indian River County line.
The city is building a complex of facilities on 180 acres that includes water treatment and wastewater reclamation plants, a utilities administration building, branches of the police and fire departments, communications cell towers and a refueling depot for city vehicles. Cities in Texas, Arizona and other states that have grown rapidly are building similar developments.

"Cities that are being reactionary are putting water and wastewater plants wherever they need them," says Tom Brzezinski, senior vice president with Wade Trim, a Detroit-based contractor handling the work. "Cities that are being proactive are doing what Palm Bay is doing and creating these campuses."

The $25-million water plant, capable of serving 14,500 customers in addition to the city's existing 28,000, is expected to go online this summer, says city utilities director Jason Yarborough. The $9-million sewer plant is scheduled for completion by the end of 2007. Both plants will be operated by a dual-trained staff, and a control room will allow them to be run from the city's existing utilities campus to the north.

Each plant can be expanded fivefold after it's built, Yarborough says. "We're doing everything imaginable to stay ahead of the growth curve."

Palm Bay's Growth
? With an estimated population of 100,000, Palm Bay is the largest city in Brevard County and 21st-largest in the state.
? At 78 square miles, the city is Florida's ninth-largest geographically. Two years ago, before annexations, the city was 65 square miles. It is projected to encompass 100 square miles in two years.
? Single-family home permits numbered 3,257 in 2005 and are expected to be just as robust this year. (Lakeland, which has almost 91,000 residents, had 544 single-family permits in 2005.)
? The Milken Institute's "Best Performing Cities 2005" ranked Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville as the nation's top metro area for job creation.Inc. magazine's May issue ranked Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville 27th in the country in most promising cities for entrepreneurs.
? The American Lung Association's annual "State of the Air" ranked Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville 17th nationwide for cleanest air.

Source: City of Palm Bay