City of Tavares

Posted on: July 11, 2016

Ruby Street Stormwater Improvement and Beautification Construction Updates

Ruby Street Beautification

The Ruby Street Stormwater Improvement and Beautification Project began in August 2016 with construction staging and pre-planning. Construction began in September 2016. There will be bi-weekly updates so please check back to find out the latest on the construction progress and road closures. 

January 11, 2018 Update:

This week, the brick pavers are almost at the east side of Ruby Street and New Hampshire Avenue.

The crew will be focused on pouring three crosswalks tomorrow. They are planning on installing the crosswalks at the following locations:

  • New Hampshire end of the intersection of Ruby St and New Hampshire Avenue.
  • The west crosswalk across Ruby Street at Ruby and New Hampshire.
  • The west side crosswalk across Ruby Street and Joanna Avenue.

This will allow the brick paver crew to return next week, install brick pavers from the east side of Ruby and New Hampshire to the east side of Joanna Avenue. Once they reach that location, the paver crew can jump over Joanna Avenue intersection and start installing pavers west towards Sinclair Avenue.

Installing the crosswalks at the above-mentioned locations requires some partial road closures starting tomorrow, but everything will be accessible for the weekend.

  • At the intersection of Ruby and New Hampshire, Prime will close New Hampshire and the west side of Ruby Street. The residents on Ruby St, north side will be able to access via Rockingham Avenue. Puddle Jumpers will be accessible from Joanna Avenue.
  • At the intersection of Ruby and Joanna, the west side on Ruby Street will be closed. Key West Hotel will be accessible from Sinclair and Joanna Avenues. The businesses across the street will be accessible from Joanna or Sinclair.

The crew is planning on having everything open from St. Clair Abrams Avenue to the intersection of Ruby and New Hampshire, including Rockingham Avenue. Joanna Avenue will be open to the Kahlua Bar. Access to both parking lots off Joanna will be accessible. "Open for business" sandwich boards will be placed near the "Road Closed, Through Traffic Only" signs so patrons know it's safe to proceed.

January 3, 2018 Update:

The weather today caused a delay in laying the pavers, but the crew hopes to get back to work tomorrow. Pavers continue up to Rockingham. Later next week, the final punch list will hopefully take place from St. Clair Abrams to Rockingham while the pavers continue to New Hampshire.

Curbing is taking place in the parking lot at Joanna. The parking lot access points will be open for weekend traffic. Pavers will be laid in the parking area as soon as curbing has been completed.

December 20, 2017 Update:

  • Pavers are being installed in the cross walks at this time. Tomorrow, the street installation of pavers will being down at St. Clair Abrams.'
  • Final pipe testing has begun at New Hampshire.
  • Curbing in the Joanna area continues near Kahlua Beach.
  • Pond activity has also commenced again now that the water levels are finally beginning to recede.
  • The crews will be taking off on the 25th and resuming on the 26th.

December 12, 2017 Update:

The crosswalks are being poured in final preparation for the laying of the pavers. Pavers MAY start this Friday, but likely Monday.  Everything else continues on schedule.

November 29, 2017 Update:

The project continues on pace with no delays this week. Next week, final testing of the newly laid lines will be conducted using the TV cameras, as previously mentioned. Utilizing this technology makes up several days of time compared to manual pressure testing.  You will also observe the crew over the next two weeks cutting the road down about four inched as final preparation for the pavers.  Pavers are scheduled to begin the week of December 11th.  The bases for the bollards will also be installed at the Rockingham and St. Clair Abrams intersections.

November 8, 2017 Update:

This week's update contains some important information. While the Ruby Street construction project continues to move forward, there have been some delays.

Last week, the crew had to wait for a concrete delivery, which cost a few days of progress. The delivery was late due to shortages in concrete availability. There has also been a delay regarding the completion of the force main installation due to an availability on certain parts. This has now been rectified and the completion of the force main has been scheduled. Some last minute Polar Express work also needed to be completed in preparation for next week's launch.

All of this has combined to add an approximate delay of paver installation by about two weeks. We are looking at/around start of December for paver install.

Duke Energy remains delayed on their scheduling due to Hurricane Irma. This hurricane has completely backed up Duke and the start date for burial of Ruby Street power lines. The City of Tavares continues to push Duke for a start date, but this is dependent upon Duke and their priorities. We will keep you apprised of movement on the Duke Energy situation.

The Ruby Street project has also been affected by time spent in preparing for the Polar Express. The construction crew scrambled to complete readiness projects for the Polar Express as soon as details were settled with the rail company, in combination with their regular construction schedule. Polar Express preparations were deemed priority due to the economic benefits of having this historic event in Tavares.

Final testing of the storm pipes has been scheduled, and to make up some time, the City will test using CCTV and insert cameras into the pipes to check for any leaks or weaknesses. Typically, pressure testing is used, but the City will save approximately ten days on the testing project by utilizing cameras.

November 1, 2017 Update:

This week, Ruby Street work continues on time! The road base has been completed down to St. Clair Abrams. Curbing continues and is working its way down to St. Clair Abrams. The crew anticipates underground work will be completed by the end of next week!! Final stormwater testing will begin at that point.

Pavers are slated to start around November 20th. There is chance paver work may begin earlier, but the 20th is more likely. Once paver laying begins, it is anticipated they will be completed for all of Ruby Street in three weeks, which will be the middle of December. Pavers will start at St. Clair Abrams first and work back up to Sinclair. The pavers are slated to finish about two weeks ahead of the original schedule that was created at the beginning of the project. Just a side note of importance: the pavers will also be placed on the Joanna extension down to Kahlua Beach Bar.

The Polar Express platforms have also been completed.

A question was asked today about the landscaping: after the beautification landscaping is completed, the City of Tavares will maintain that landscaping moving forward.

A quick update on the marina: the salvage operation has been completed. The apron which contains the sea plane and boat ramp will be re-opening. Fuel will soon be available again. Temporary docks for about a half dozen boats are available. The city is actively working on its long-term plan to rebuild the entire dock system.

October 4, 2017 Update:

Work continues to proceed down Ruby Street through the Rockingham intersection to St. Clair Abrams. Parking lots remain open. The ROckingham intersection will remain closed this weekend. Thus far, there are no expected delays in this area.

Tuesday, the crew was able to successfully install 54 feet of stormwater pipe, which is the most in one day.

Sidewalk and curbing continue in the New Hampshire area.

September 27, 2017 Update:

This week, work down to Rockingham continues but will halt temporarily for the Rails, Trails and History event this weekend. THe crew is working hard and making every effort to make up some time due to Hurricane Irma.  Dust is always a concern so the crews will be watering twice daily, first watering early morning, and second watering early afternoon to control dust.   Ruby Street will be closed in portions and in entirety from New Hampshire Avenue to St Clair Abrams Avenue.  Deliveries and shipments should be received from Rockingham Avenue. The trucks will not be able to utilize Ruby Street for deliveries.

September 21, 2017 Update:

This week, work continues down to the Rockingham intersection. This intersection will remain open through the Rails, Trails and History event. The intersection will close after that. We will keep you posted on a more specific date.

Curbing and sidewalk work continues in the New Hampshire area.

September 14, 2017 Update:

The construction crew is back at work on ten hour days! This week, they will be continuing in the New Hamphire area.

The intersection will be closed while they are working there, but they will open the intersections for nights and weekends.


Access to parking lots will be available. The City will be placing parking signs around for direction and guidance.

August 14, 2017 Update:

Construction will clear New Hampshire approximately Aug. 25th and that intersection will reopen. Work will then commence to Rockingham.

The landscape architect visited last week with the City of Tavares for design preparations.

FDEP approved some additional funding for the burial of utilities. The City is working with Duke on a start date.

The project is full steam ahead, weather cooperating.

August 2, 2017 Update:

Joanna intersection: construction should clear this intersection tomorrow. They will be reducing barricade presence in that area of Ruby Street.

New Hampshire intersection: the crew expects to finish and open this intersection in two weeks. Sidewalks, curbing and road sub base will be installed in from Joanna to New Hampshire.

Rockingham: this intersection will close in approximately two weeks. De-watering in this area has begun. For this next phase, the construction crew will be working from the open intersection of New Hampshire down to the Rockingham intersection. This area of Ruby Street will be closed for approximately four weeks. We will be keeping businesses apprised of the progress and any conflicts that may arise. This schedule is also weather-dependent.

Next week, saw-cutting of Ruby Street down from New Hampshire down to Rockingham will take place in order to prepare the existing asphalt for removal. This will take approximately one day, but there will still be accessibility for local traffic.

Parking lot availability: We are starting notification now for each business in the area of the Rockingham closure. Ruby Street will be open at Sinclair, Joanna and New Hampshire during this time. The parking lot next to O'Keefe's will remain open and accessible for parking via Rockingham only. The main city lot at Wooton Park will remain open and accessible via St. Clair Abrams.

In preparation for the project moving from Rockingham down to St. Clair Abrams, the city has begun doing advanced planning regarding routes/accessibility for trash/dumpsters, as well as deliveries. I will keep you posted on approximate start dates for this phase so everyone is prepared.

July 20, 2017 Update:

This week, construction at the New Hampshire intersection continues on schedule. The "eyes in the hole" digging continues due to the many delicate line conflicts within this intersection.

Sinclair has been re-opened through to the THI community and the Joanna intersection and is once again accessible. Final paving on Sinclair will take place in August, and we will notify of this short closing.

Road grating will commence on Monday from Sinclair to Joanna in. Once completed in a week or so, many of the barricades will be removed from this area. In addition, the parking spaces across from Hemingway's Wine and Cigar Bar and the hotel will also be available once again.

July 13, 2017 Update:

New Hampshire intersection is slated to be closed until August 6th. This area of the project is tracking on time.

Next week, the City of Tavares will be meeting with Duke Energy to finalize plans for underground burial of lines.

The City of Tavares has selected "Sunshine Mimosa" as the ground cover for the pond/park area. See attached image. Sunshine Mimosa creates a dense green blanket of tiny fern-like leaves that shrink instantly from touch, so some of you may refer to it by its more common name, "Sensitive Plant." After being touched, the green leaves fold up, delighting people who interact with it. It offers small pink flowers, so it appears to have a wildflower look during warm months.

The City selected this as the groundcover because it is fast growing, and known for its ability to perform well where soil erosion is an issue, so as pond embankments, with minimal maintenance required. The seeds are germinating now, with planting expected to take place in late August. In addition, the City continues to work the Wildflower Society on further foliage selections.

Currently, you will observe the pond cells are quite full. They will remain this way until the Mimosa has been planted in order to protect the new pond slopes.

Beginning next week, you will also observe a few of the barricades and marking being removed from the Joanna area of Ruby Street.

July 10, 2017 Update:

Starting this Wednesday, July 12th through next Wednesday, July 19th, Sinclair Street from Ruby St. intersection to the railroad tracks in front of the THI community will be CLOSED.

Residents will be detoured via Main St. to Joanna Street and will be able to enter THI via the back road.

Prime Construction will be closing this portion of Sinclair to install the road sub base in preparation for final paving. Final paving will take place on/around the beginning of August for four days.

June 29, 2017 Update:

Work will be continuing on New Hampshire intersection for the next two weeks.

Access and parking will be available for July 4th festivities.

June 21, 2017 Update:

Construction continues along Ruby Street between Joanna and New Hampshire. The crew will clear this area and begin work in the New Hampshire intersection for approximately four weeks. Remember, this intersection will remain closed for the duration of work. Road sub base and curbing will also commence from Joanna to New Hampshire.

On June 27th from 2am to 6am, water will be shut off in the area of New Hampshire and there is a potential for noise. This will only affect Buster Tubbs and Puddle Jumpers and the four immediate residences. NO OTHER BUSINESSES WILL BE AFFECTED. Once the water is turned back on, a boil water notice will be in effect for 48 hours.. THe boil water alert applies to water that needs to be potable The city will be delivering notices to the affected businesses with further instructions.

Regarding July 4th festivities: ALL ANNUAL FESTIVITIES WILL BE PROCEEDING AS NORMAL. Parking at the Puddle Jumpers entrance, as well as Joanna will be available and unaffected. There will be no construction activities on the 4th.

June 16, 2017 Update:

Work continues on Ruby Street towards the New Hampshire intersection. The engineers have successfully been able to work around the conflicts and things are back on track!

New Hampshire intersections will CLOSE ON JUNE 19th, and remain closed for approximately four weeks. Street closings and detours will be clearly marked. Sinclair and Joanna and all associated parking will be open and accessible.g

The ruby red brick pavers have been ordered, and the landscape designer has been contracted so planning for finishing touches has begun.

The City is also awaiting a start date from Duke Energy for the power line burial to begin.

Sidewalks, curbing and sub base is also continuing.

June 7, 2017 Update:

Hopefully, you have been able to view the video that was sent out over the weekend explaining the delay on Ruby Street - The engineer and contractor were able to quickly work through an alternative to this issue and things are proceeding. Work has been getting done, despite the weather.

Work is scheduled to start on the New Hampshire intersection on/around June 19th. Please remember this intersection will be closed for four weeks once construction starts. Nearby residents have been notified, as well.

Installation of the road sub base has begun on Ruby Street from Sinclair to Joanna. Pond work also continues, with focus on sloping and embankment stabilization.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Several businesses in the construction zone have inquired about the possibility of receiving compensation from the City. Information being passed that indicates the City of Mount Dora and Orange County offered some type of compensation during similar construction projects. Upon researching this issue in depth, as well as communication with other counties and municipalities, we can confirm that monies were not given to businesses. This is not a practice local governments can engage in with taxpayer monies. However, these local governments do provide an ongoing Facade Grant Program, and this is what local businesses applied for and received, in some instances.

The City of Tavares recently approved a Facade Grant Program. Please see the included link below. This program provides financial assistance for exterior building and property improvements within the Tavares CRA (Ruby Street businesses qualify). This program reimburses business or property owners up to 50% or $10,000, whichever is less. An application must be submitted for approval prior to the work being done. The City will reimburse accordingly upon completion of the work and submittal of expenses.

A list of criteria as well as the application can be found here:

May 18, 2017 Update:

This week, work is proceeding on schedule on Ruby Street in front of Avalon Park and Tiki West restaurant. Everything is going according to plan and no delays are expected.

Next stop will be the closing of the New Hampshire intersection. Again, it is anticipated that this intersection will be closed for four weeks due to the many conflicts identified under this area.

Parking and access signs will be placed to guide patrons accordingly.

Important work continues on the pond cells, as well.

Curbing continues from Sinclair to Joanna,and road sub base will be forthcoming. Remaining signage and barricades will be removed from these areas upon completion.

Again, please note that full parking and access is available from both the Sinclair and Joanna Streets.

May 5, 2017 Update:

This weekend, both Sinclair and Joanna intersections will be open along the Ruby Street construction project.

April 26, 2017 Update:

THIS WEEKEND: The construction crew is aware that this is Leesburg Bikefest weekend, and the hotel is sold out. In preparation for this weekend, the intersection of Ruby and Joanna will be open. Sidewalks will be available and accessible. There has been some concern voiced about the "Local Traffic Only" signs. The city is aware of this concern, and the city is working on solutions to make sure there is no confusion regarding parking and accessibility.

LOOKING AHEAD: The city will be ordering parking signs for the Ruby Street businesses located between Joanna and New Hampshire. Depending on what is accomplished this week, Prime Construction may be out of the intersection of Ruby Street and Joanna Avenue by the end of next week, if possible. This depends on conditions and conflicts found working in the intersection. Work in the intersection may continue to the week of May 7th. Once intersection is completed, the pipe crew will continue installing stormwater pipe in Ruby Street working east from the intersection.

April 13, 2017 Update:

1. The intersection of Ruby Street and Joanna Street will close on April 24th. The contractor has held off on closing the intersection until the Planes, Trains & BBQ event. It is anticipated this intersection will be closed for approximately two weeks. We will keep you updated on progress.

2. Well points are being installed further down Ruby Street in anticipation of moving past the Joanna intersection.

3. Progress continues on the pond site, however, old rail ties have been discovered and need to be removed and properly disposed of.

4. Road sub grade and curbing will being from Sinclair to Joanna within the next few weeks.

March 24, 2017 Update:

The following is an outlook of the next several weeks in regards to Prime Construction working on Ruby Street and the intersection of Joanna Avenue. This is an estimate and things may change. We will keep you updated.

Week of March 27

The pipe crew will west side of the intersection of Ruby St. and Joanna Ave. by the end of the week. This is where the pavement has previously been removed. The electricians will be on site next week to run conduits in this area, as well as Ruby and Sinclair.

Week of April 3

The pipe crew will be installing structures on the Ruby Street, west of Joanna Ave.

The well point crew will be on site this week to install well points across the intersection of Ruby St. and Joanna Ave. This should not require the closure of the intersection. Traffic ramps will be used with the well point system to allow traffic to cross the well points.

Week of April 10

The pipe crew will be working in the intersection of Ruby Street and Joanna Avenue. This will require the closing of the intersection and detour traffic around. Prime is going to work diligently (and possibly overtime) to complete the work across Ruby and Joanna Ave. intersection. Intersection will be closed for 2-weeks hopefully. This means we would be through the intersection by April 21st, but it may take longer depending on what is located in the intersection.

Prime is planning on re-opening a portion of the intersection to traffic for weekends.

March 15, 2017 Update:

1. Construction crews will be pulling out tomorrow and it is anticipated that Ruby Street will be temporarily open from Sinclair to Joanna.

2. Next week, all construction is slated to take place at the pond area only.

3. Joanna intersection work will commence week after next.

February 22, 2017 Update:

1. You may see some crew proactively exploring other areas of Ruby Street as they are proactively trying to locate and identify existing buried lines that may cause conflicts. This allows the construction crew to advance plan as much as possible.

2. In preparation for event season, the construction crews will still only be on site four days per week. On Fridays, you may observe a few crew members on site conducting cleaning and pick up. This allows events to take place without construction disruption. In the event of rain during a given week, you may see crews working on Fridays to make up time, but this will not interfere with any events.

3. We wish to stress again that there will be no disruption to the upcoming Sunnyland Antique Boat Show. The City staff has been working with the Sunnyland event organizers during the construction project and addressing any concerns that have been raised. To that end, the City staff has also been working closely with all upcoming event organizers to meet their needs. All events are running on schedule and we look forward to another successful season.

4. Projected timeframes: The construction should reach the Ruby/Joanna intersection in about two weeks. The project approx. four weeks until they reach the area of Tiki West.

February 1, 2017 Update:

1. Sinclair is now open.

2. In two weeks, the stormwater pipes will be brought down Ruby St. down towards the lobby area of Key West Resort.

3. In four weeks, it is anticipated the construction will reach the intersection of Joanna and Ruby. The intersection should be closed for approximately one week.

4. The crew will be backfilling Ruby Street as much as possible as the pipes are laid.

January 4, 2017 Update:

An update meeting was held at Hemingway’s, 126 W Ruby Street, earlier today.  The next update meeting is scheduled for January 11th at 2:00 pm, Hemingway’s.  The following are highlights from today’s meeting:

1. Work continues down by the Joanna area railroad tracks. This will be wrapped up shortly.

2. Berm construction on the pond site will commence within two weeks.

3. Chiller line work at Sinclair and Ruby continues. The crew is now hand digging around six fiber optic lines in order to insure the safety of the lines.

4. During the weekend of January 20-23rd, it is anticipated that final line connections will be done in the Sinclair area. This will not effect local traffic.

5. Shortly after, work will proceed down Ruby to the Joanna intersection. The back road along the lake and Sinclair will be opened at this time so patrons and customer have continual access. Joanna will not close until Sinclair is reopened.

6. It is anticipated this work will finish by the middle of February.

December 5, 2016 Update:

There will be a meeting on Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 2:00 p.m. at the Lago Dora Restaurant, 134 E Ruby Street, to discuss the Ruby Street Stormwater and Beautification Project.  Business owners, residents and anyone insteres is invited to attend.  A project update and projected schedule will be provided at the meeting.  For more information contact Mandy Wettstein at 352.406.0422 or

November 18, 2016 Update:

Sinclair Avenue has been reopened temporarily for the weekend. Come and enjoy your favorite downtown entertainment spots! 

November 10, 2016 Update:

1. Ruby Street between Sinclair and Joanna remains open to local traffic through the weekend. We can expect some closures next week, but the goal will be to have this section reopened during weekends. 

2. Site work will begin in the water near the seaplane and boat ramps soon. This will include work involving sheet piles, well points, and jack and bore. For those that are interested about what you will see taking place around you, here are some brief explanations. Sheet piling is an earth retention and excavation support technique that retains soil, using steel sheet sections with interlocking edges. Sheet piles are installed in sequence to design depth along the planned excavation perimeter or seawall alignment. Jack and bore is a method of horizontal boring sewer construction. Construction crews drill a hole underground horizontally between two points without disturbing the surface between sending and receiving pits. 

3. The ramps will be closed from November 28th through approximately December 9th. 

4. Pond work and excavation continues. A makeshift dump site was discovered so that is requiring some extra time to clean out. 

5. The acquisition of American made iron and steel continues. Remember, this is a project requirement. 

6. The crew continues to water down Ruby Street twice per day for dust containment. In addition, the county is spraying in an attempt to alleviate the blind mosquitoes. 

7. The City of Tavares has ordered some sandwich board signs that will be delivered next Tuesday. These signs will be placed at the front of street closure blockades to inform patrons that ALL BUSINESSES ARE OPEN. In addition, the City of Tavares will continue running this same message on a large digital billboard on Hwy. 441 in Tavares.

8. Construction will cease for the following holiday dates: November 23rd and resume on Monday November 28th, December 23rd and resume Monday, December 27th and December 30th and resume on Tuesday, January 3rd. 

For additional project information please contact Mandy Wettstein at or 352.406-0422.

Construction Schedule