$15m beach project to start

Posted on December 11, 2015 by Deborah Nelson

Santa Rosa County selected Weeks Marine, Inc. to move forward with Navarre Beach beach renourishment at their Thursday commission regular meeting.
The company, who handled the 2006 Navarre Beach renourishment project, is expected to begin work in March. The project is expected to be completed by June 17 at a cost of $14,920,300.
Funding is expected to come from FEMA ($2.3 million); Florida DEP ($2.75 million); tourist taxes ($2 million); and a local share between the County and an MSBU tax on beach leaseholders.
The project will stretch from the Eglin AFB property line to the east to Gulf Island Seashore property to the west, County PIO Sarah Whitfield said.

The project involves excavating, transporting, placing and grading approximately 1,600,000 cubic yards of sand fill and installing 112,000 native dune plants.
Navarre Beach Leaseholders Association President Tim Keohane asked commissioners to split the costs between beach lease fees collected between 2006 and 2014, bed taxes, and county residents.
“The County does own 26 percent of the beach,” Keohane said.
Commissioners noted the project will cut into Spring Break tourist season. Commissioner Bob Cole suggested the Tourist Development Office make provision for guests to visit the areas being restored and watch the process. “It is a sight to see,” Cole said.

Other county issues
Also this week, commissioners discussed these items at their commission meeting:
l County officials say they’ll keep an eye on proposed legislation related to the Tourist Development Tax. Representative Matt Gaetz proposed counties fork over 20 percent of bed taxes to the State’s Visit Florida public/private tourism marketing agency. Gaetz also proposed 10 percent of bed taxes be allowed for policing necessary as a “result of tourism.” The proposed bill is expected to undergo changes as it travels through Legislature.
l Incoming County Administrator Tony Gomillion’s salary will be $135,000, commissioners agreed Thursday. The job had been advertised between $115K and $145K, and the Board agreed the $135K figure falls in line with administrator salaries in similarly sized counties. The contract also includes a $500 monthly travel allowance and professional development expenses.
l A boating restriction ordinance designating Polynesian Isles canals as “slow speed, minimum wake” will go to public hearing in the coming months. The neighborhood’s homeowners association requested the restriction for safety reasons.
l Commissioners approved the use of BP grant money for two beach projects. A $117,000 project will retrofit or reduce visibility of residential lights near turtle nests in Navarre Beach Park. A $1.4 million Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission NRDA Early Restoration Artificial Reef Construction grant will fund artificial reefs off Navarre Beach, including an expansion of the existing reef offshore of the beach’s Park section.
l The Board approved two applications for the FY2016 Florida Legislature Water Projects Cycle. They include $1,331,127 for Venetian Way and Coronado Drive and $1.3 million for Camden Road/Holley by the Sea drainage projects. The requested amounts are half of the project costs. Santa Rosa and FEMA would cover the remainder.
l Commissioners approved a Navarre Beach event to celebrate the end of Cobia season. The Cobia Run which includes 5K and 10K courses down Gulf Blvd., is scheduled for Saturday April 26, 2016. Organizers expect 300 runners to participate. The Run is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and finish no later than 10 a.m.
l The board approved moving forward on a County Tsunami Plan that includes sign placement on Navarre Beach. Officials said although the threat of Tsunami is low, it does exist and submitting a Plan would improve area National Flood Insurance ratings.
l The following roads in District Five are scheduled for resurfacing at an estimated cost of $222,122.50: Princeton Drive, Harmony Lane, Hillside Avenue (from Bayview Lane to Shady Lane), Shady Lane, Chinquapin Drive, Sabine Drive, Sabine Court, Ceylon Drive, Flagler Drive, Abercrombie Road, America Avenue (from Supreme Street to Capital Drive), Magnolia Lane, Llani Lane, Luzon Lane, and Soule Place.