SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. — Satellite Beach is making upgrades to keep not just residents safe during storms, but also those who head into danger to help them.

What You Need To Know

  • Satellite Beach getting a new public works, fire department building

  • The new $3.5 million facility will be built off Jackson Avenue

  • The building is expected to be completed by mid-2021

The plan involves a new facility, which will replace the rundown public works building and fire department, both more than 60 years old.

"Our public works building is on the verge of being condemned, it needs a lot of work," Satellite Beach City Manager Courtney Barker said. "Same thing with the fire station ... I think the fire department outgrew it when it was built."

Hurricanes and even heavy storms flood the properties which are situated in flood zone. Workers can't get equipment out in high water. And firefighters aren't able to drive their trucks through.

"There have been several instances where our fire trucks were having a difficult time getting out of the fire station," Vice Mayor Mindy Gibson said.

Now the city is doing something about it with a new $3.5 million, state-of-the-art public works and fire department building. Firetrucks won't have to back in as they do now.

But with a beachside community limited on space, leaders had to get creative. They found an old parking lot off Jackson Avenue, which makes for a central location.

Barker said the new facility will improve the city's already high insurance rating.

"I think it will make a difference over time," Barker said.

Frank and Nancy Armeson are lifelong Satellite Beach residents. They've seen public buildings built at the dawn of the space program in the late 50s and early 60s go downhill over the decades. They agree with the new building and where it's going.

"Updating facilities which those guys have sorely needed for a long time," Frank Armeson said. "This is good judgment here. This is a good place to put it."

The project includes a new storm water treatment pond, preventing runoff into the Indian River Lagoon.

The city says the new facility is expected to be complete by mid-2021.