Palm Coast - It's quite the effort to keep a city known for its beauty in tiptop shape. But this tall order for the City of Palm Coast's Public Works Department continues to be handled quite professionally, with the utmost care.

These 74 dedicated men and women are responsible for the maintenance of infrastructure and landscaping to be enjoyed by current and future residents. And they have much to be proud of for accomplishments in 2020.

The tree crew responded to more than 732 work orders in 2020. They cut and removed 532 hazard trees, eliminating the need for hiring a subcontractor. This team completed work orders through new salesforce technology, which helped reduce response times from eight days to a day or two. In 2021, they're aiming to expand training and skills such as learning how to operate new asphalt equipment and developing one of their crew members to be a certified arborist.

The sign shop team implemented a regulatory sign inspection procedure to assure that all neighborhoods have the proper signs to keep streets safe. They also trained other crew members to control the bucket truck to work in hard-to-reach areas. Staff developed a traffic signal maintenance plan to stay ahead of any potential malfunctions throughout the year. In 2021, they plan to continue these efforts and review other procedures for efficiency.

You may have noticed some of the work completed by the median and landscape crews. In 2020, they planted new flowers on Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast Parkway, and six new sycamore trees on Palm Coast Parkway. They also installed two new fountains on Palm Coast Parkway with color changing lights. Those blue and white neighborhood entrance signs are now being repainted, thanks to these crews, and they will finish in 2021. More flowers are coming to main roads in 2021 along with two new color-changing fountains at the I-95 and Matanzas Woods Parkway ponds. And finally, the median and landscape team is working to speed up the swale maintenance rotation from seven weeks to five weeks and plans to use GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology to track them.

The Public Works facilities team was busy in 2020. They trained on building automation systems that helped them diagnose potential problems before they occurred. They completed quarterly inspections on various appliances such as generators, ice machines, AC units and overhead doors. They also maintained city buildings by power washing and painting the exteriors. Other accomplishments included creating a work order priority system to manage facilities requests efficiently. This includes jobs like leaks, power outages, repairs, plumbing, and renovations. This will continue into 2021.

Focusing on our beautiful greenery, the facilities landscape team designed an app in collaboration with the City's GIS Division to track and monitor the progress of the well and lift site mowing crew. The app helps track the progress and completion of mowing and landscaping at 286 sites throughout the city, focusing on assigning priorities to specific locations. They also developed and implemented a rotation and priority system for landscaping work at each city facility which will continue into the new year.

Even a pandemic didn't stop the special projects team from finishing several major upgrades in Palm Coast. Construction was completed at several locations including the new stormwater facility; the small engine shop and training room at the public works facility; and four new baseball fields at the Indian Trails Sports Complex. They also refurbished the Waterfront Park fishing pier. In 2021, the team will work on training with new equipment, developing a succession plan, and a scheduling procedure for capital projects.

And finally, the fleet team worked nonstop to maintain the city's fleet of utility trucks, heavy equipment vehicles, business vehicles and fire trucks. In 2020, unused space was converted into a small engine shop to better service city landscaping equipment. They also hired a parts and inventory specialist to handle acquiring necessary parts that will be housed in a new storage room for accessibility. In the new year, the team will use new salesforce technology for scheduling and reporting for greater efficiency of maintenance.

In 2020, the Public Works Department in conjunction with the City's Communications Division, won the APWA's video contest showcasing 'a day in the life' of the department. It featured all nine Public Works divisions. This was the first step in a long process towards accreditation with the American Public Works Association. You can watch the video here: [].

While this is not an exhaustive list of all the important work being done by Public Works, it captures some of the highlights of maintaining the structure and enhancing the appearance of Palm Coast to be enjoyed by the community.

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