DeLand, FL – In a unanimous vote, the Volusia County Council has signed off on the funding of improvements to the Smyrna Dunes Park Boardwalk and a new Smyrna Dunes fishing pier.
That unanimous 6-0 vote does two things for the Smyrna Dunes project; it approves the original $1.5 million in Port Reserves and an additional $778,475 in Port Reserves to be used, and it allows the $271,525 in FBIP money to be shifted and reused.
“I won’t have to endanger our emergency reserves, but I think this is what reserves are for,” said Jim Dinneen, County Manager. “It’s time to move some money over there.”
Additionally, $150,000 will be deferred from the Lighthouse Point Park Boardwalk fund. A Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) grant of $119,475 has been accepted. A $400,000 ECHO grant was given in 2015, and another $400,000 ECHO grant application was submitted this year.
The Smyrna Dunes Park Boardwalk is 35 years old, according to Jessica Winterwerp, Coastal Division Director for Volusia County, and its age is showing. “Our Park Attendance walk the boardwalk, the entire thing, every single morning,” said Winterwerp. “They hammer down nails, they check for any structural issues, they make sure (you know) no one’s hanging out after hours… But if they see something then they repair it.” And the condition of the boardwalk has gotten so bad that they have flipped many of the boards so that the weather-worn side isn’t showing.
Dinneen stressed a sense of urgency during the conversation. “One of my fears is that if we don’t move soon, we could have some storm damage that would cause us to close it [the Smyrna Dunes Park Boardwalk].” He also cited the rising cost of construction as another motivator. In 2015, the total cost of both projects was estimated at about $3.7 million. An engineering estimate was requested earlier this year and the new price tag was set at $5.4 million – because of increasing construction costs.
Planned improvements to the boardwalk (which dates back to 1984) include replacing the wooden boardwalk with a composite structure, widening the boardwalk from the current six-feet to eight-feet wide, and adding ADA access to the beach and fishing pier. Plans also include allowing casual bicycle usage on the newly widened walkway.
The fishing pier project calls for a new 350-foot-long pier with two shade structures.
According to Winterwerp, construction is scheduled to begin in August and should be finished by March of 2017. Dinneen said that he wants to hold a community meeting in June so that the public can join in on the conversation.
(Photos Courtesy Volusia County Government)
Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016.