BY LIZA STROUT - Between the excitement of bridges being built at the north end and tarpon fishing in the Pass, it is easy for some things to slip between the cracks here on Gasparilla Island. That has not happened with the seawall owned by the Florida Park Service along the Gulf of Mexico at the Boca Bay Pass Club, though.
In a statement on Wednesday, Parks Representative Patrick Gillespie had good news for those who have been concerned about the deterioration of the wall.
“Gasparilla Island State Park, along with the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association, have split the cost of doing the roughly $18,000 engineering study required to determine the condition of the seawall,” he reported. “It is our hope this study will be completed in the next few months.”
He went on to explain that once the condition of the seawall is ascertained, then plans will begin for paying for repairs, if any are needed.
“If the study indicates repairs are required, a determination will need to be made in regards to what funding sources may be available,” said Gillespie. “We require specifics about what repairs, if any, are needed before making that determination.”
Misty Nichols, executive director of Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association is happy the wall is finally getting attention.
“We’ve been hearing questions and concerns from residents on the seawall for about two years now,” Nichols said. “This is an issue we have been working on for a long time.”
The GICIA will be paying 50% of the cost of the engineering study.
“We are happy that the process is getting off of the ground,” said Nichols.
A few years ago, Boca Bay Pass Club paid to have rip-rap placed along the wall to shore it up, but erosion of the sand in front of and behind the wall has continued. During strong storms, there have been reports of waves overtopping the wall, eroding the sand from behind it as well.
Anyone with questions or concerns regarding the seawall should contact Gasparilla Island State Park Manager Chad Lach at 964-0375.
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