Berckman Street Gets a Facelift


Clay underlayment was removed, crushed limerock added and new pavement on top of that—brand new Berckman Street.

After 90 Years, Fruitland Park’s Main Street is getting a new face.

Berckman Street in Fruitland Park is undergoing a major facelift as workers complete a repaving project from Dixie Avenue about one-half mile west through the city’s center to Josephine Street.

The Villages is paying for most of the work as part of a development deal to get city water for the Villages of Fruitland Park.

Community Development Director Charlie Rector said the city is spending $70,000 to pave the remaining 500 feet of Berckman and correct a 90 year-old error.

Back in 1924, city residents pitched in for the first annual Fruitland Park Cleanup Day, spreading truckloads of clay at the east end of Berckman from the railroad tracks—where the library sits—500 feet to Dixie Avenue. In 1924, that was current technology in roadbuilding, with a far more secure surface than the sand underneath.

BerckmanatDixie copy

Last month, Berckman Street was a patchwork of paved-over potholes and crumbling asphalt.

Berckman’s clay base has been paved over many times in the years since. And that’s been a problem.

Clay softens and expands when wet. Given Central Florida’s wide range of weather conditions, a small crack in the pavement soon leads to crumbling asphalt and potholes, which have been a constant problem at the intersection.

The clay is being replaced with limerock, the more standard—and much firmer—underlayment used in roadbuilding today.

“I hope we have eliminated potholes at Berckman and Dixie for many, many years,” Rector said.

The project should be complete by the end of next week. Rector said side streets have been closed for a few hours at a time during the project but Berckman has remained open.

Berckman Street was named for Augustus Berckmann, a world-famous 19th-century horticulturist whose Fruitland Nursery helped power the agricultural boom in the southeast for 50 years following the Civil War, and now serves as home to the Augusta National Golf Club and the U.S. Open golf tournament.

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