Placement of truck-hauled sand on shoreline expected to begin in March 2023
On Oct. 11, in unanimously approving their Consent Agenda of routine business matters, the Sarasota County commissioners authorized another step to facilitate the upcoming South Siesta Key Beach Repair Project.
With no comments — which is typical with Consent Agenda action — the board members awarded a $373,247.60 contract for professional engineering services to Geosyntec Consultants Inc. of Boca Raton, which does business as ATM.
Only one other firm had submitted a bid, county Procurement Department records show: Coastal Engineering Consultants Inc. of Bonita Springs. However, that company ended up withdrawing its bid, the documents say.
Altogether, as noted in a county staff memo included in the Oct. 11 agenda packet, 77 companies viewed the solicitation for engineering services, which was advertised on May 3.
The repair work is expected to begin in early March 2023, the memo says. The total expense, as shown in a county document, is $4,029,604. Of that amount, $3,575,133 has been allocated for construction.
The document adds that “92,505 cubic yards of beach compatible sand” will be placed on the shoreline.
The county staff memo points out that the funding for the engineering services contract will be divvied up as follows: $279,935.70 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); $46,655.95 from the Florida Division of Environmental Management; and $46,655.95 from the county Tourist Development Tax revenue. The county’s ordinance governing use of the Tourist Development Tax — or, “bed tax” — revenue allows for certain funds to be set aside each year for beach renourishment efforts.
The second South Siesta Key Beach Renourishment Project was completed in May 2016, the staff memo explains. During that initiative, more than 700,000 cubic yards of sand was placed on the shoreline between Palmer Point Park, at the southern end of Siesta Key, and the 7900 block of Sanderling Road, which is 1.9 miles north of the park, the memo points out.
Then, in September 2016, Hurricane Hermine “damaged the project in the vicinity of Turtle Beach Park, reducing the amount of sand in the project area,” the memo adds.
Thanks to the federal Presidential Disaster Declaration for the Hurricane Hermine event for the State of Florida and Sarasota County, the memo continues, funding was made available for both emergency and long-term initiatives in response to Hermine’s damage.
Initially, the memo points out, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) and county staff agreed to an effort to repair the South Siesta Key Renourishment Project area. However, the memo adds, “[B]ecause of the high cost for mobilization of sea-going dredge vessels,” all three parties “agreed to defer the repairs” until 2026, when county staff already had scheduled the next South Siesta Renourishment Project.
Nonetheless, the memo notes, in November 2019, “FEMA and FDDEM introduced the concept of an interim repair project using sand transported via dump truck from an upland source.” That “would allow the agencies to ‘close’ the Hurricane Hermine disaster before 2026.”
Therefore, the memo says, plans came together for the restoration work to get underway next year, with a completion deadline of June 30, 2023 established.
Formally, the County Commission on Oct. 11 also voted to adopt a resolution that modified the description and scope of work for the South Siesta Repair Project, including the construction work.
The memo adds, “Project outreach has begun with the creation of a Fact Sheet and posting of a monthly project update on the County’s Projects in My Neighborhood webpage.” Further, a staff presentation has been scheduled for Siesta Key Association (SKA) members during their December meeting, the memo notes.
Outreach to the SKA and the property owners in the affected area “will continue as the project moves forward,” the memo says. At least one advertised public meeting will be conducted, it points out.