Water district will build service center in Apopka

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Through a land swap with the city of Apopka, the St. Johns River Water Management District has secured a five-acre parcel in Apopka to build a service center, replacing the offices the water district now leases in Maitland.

It will be known as the Apopka Service Center and will be one of three centers throughout the sprawling water management district that covers all or portions of 18 counties from the Georgia state line to Okeechobee County. The St. Johns district office is based out of Palatka with service centers currently in Jacksonville, Palm Bay, and Maitland.

Plans call for the Apopka center to open on a five-acre parcel along Binion Road by September 2021 when the lease on the water district’s Maitland office expires. The piece of property sits on the south side of Binion Road where the generally north-south road curves and traverses in an east-west manner for about a quarter-mile before turning in a north-south direction again.

Lisa Kelley, assistant executive director for the water management district, said this week that about 40 employees who work out of the Maitland office will move to the Apopka center when it opens. Those employees include engineers, scientists, technology support staff, and others, Kelley said.

“This is an exciting story for St. Johns,” Kelley said. “The parcel that we just closed on is a five-acre parcel that was previously owned by the city of Apopka. We consider the city one of our excellent partners on this project as well as others, but especially with this project.

“Since we’re under a lease that will be coming to an end, the time was right for our board to consider if we wanted to continue operating out of leased space or if the time was right to consider building an office building.

“We had this opportunity come to us through our partnership with the city of Apopka and our board is excited about moving forward.”

Read the full story on page 1A of the Friday, May 24 issue of The Apopka Chief.