CONTRIBUTION FROM THE BOCA BAY PASS CLUB - As most Pass Club members are aware, the Boca Bay Pass Club board of directors has been working during the past three months to protect the Pass Club and surrounding properties from being damaged by a tropical storm or hurricane.
Our focus has been to repair the Belcher Road seawall, which is located on state of Florida land, by increasing the height of the concrete cap, resetting the existing protective rock shield and providing backfill on the land side to further support the wall. This first stage of reparation, a short-term step, is estimated by the state’s engineering firm, Humiston and Moore, to cost approximately $150,000. The second stage of seawall repair, a longer-term measure, would include placing armor stones, described to us as the size of Volkswagen Beetles, above the existing rock base. This second stage and its attendant expenditures is estimated to cost $350,000.
The total cost to refurbish the dilapidated seawall would be about $500,000.
Permits are expected to be received mid-June for Stage One and this November for Stage Two.
We are actively working with numerous organizations, including Lee County, the state of Florida, the Barrier Island Parks Society (BIPS) and the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association (GICIA). State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto and Representative Ray Wesley Rodrigues have been contacted by Fred Schlegel and Tom Midyett. We are seeking money, not merely moral support. Funding will be hard to come by, but the Parks Department has released $28,000 for designs and permits for the two stages.
Additionally, GICIA has donated $9,344 to help cover 50 percent of the funding necessary for Humiston and Moore to complete an evaluation of the seawall, which was presented to Boca Grande citizens at the Community Center in February and to Pass Club members at the Power House last month.
At this time there is no assessment planned because we don’t know to what extent the seawall project will be funded by supportive groups and agencies.
The Pass Club has cash reserves to cover the cost of the first stage of reparation. If the state of Florida does not provide funds to repair its seawall, then Pass Club members would face the unpleasant task of having to unilaterally protect their property.
We did receive some good news recently which would help protect the seawall from storm damage. The Army Corps of Engineers is planning to commence its Gasparilla Island Beach Renourishment program this August, establishing a much-needed sand buffer in front of the wall by extending the width of the beach.
The cost of this project is estimated to be $9.8 million, with the federal government providing $6.1 million, the state of Florida contributing $2.1 million and Lee County furnishing $1.6 million.
This report was prepared by Fred Schlegel, president, and Jim Ardrey, vice president, on behalf of the board of directors of Boca Bay.
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