Coastal Engineering Consultants will present an update to a planned $23 million beach renourishment project Monday at the next town council meeting. The proposed start date for the project is the Summer of 2023.
The last update the council received was in October of 2021. That was to be followed up by permit applications. Of the 33,923 feet of shoreline, nearly 31,000 feet was determined to be eroding.
Funding for the project will come from several sources, including the state, the town and Lee County TDC funding. TDC funds will be discussed at the TDC’s May meeting. The latest update from Coastal Engineering sets the cost for the town at between $2.3 and $3.6 million.
As we wrote about last year, the cost of the project could shift by millions of dollars, depending on the outcome of the dune walkover case on the south end. If a court determines that the homeowners that live in front of the Critical Wildlife Area, own that property, the cost to renourish the beach could be millions of dollars more. If the state owned the land, the state would absorb the cost for the renourishment. If the homeowners prevail in their lawsuit, town taxpayers would have to foot the bill.
Coastal Engineering estimates that the State of Florida’s cost share is between $9.1 million and $13.9 million depending on who owns the Critical Wildlife Area property.
The town has been fighting with homeowners Eddie Rood and Kurt Kroemer for years. They were denied a dune walkover to get to the beach when a neighbor blocked off the only access they had. Lawsuits have been flying ever since. We should know the result of Rood/Kroemer lawsuit against the state in the next few months. The result of that suit will determine who owns the land in which the CWA sits. The length of shoreline within the Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area is approximately 5,662 feet.
Of the total $23 million cost for the project, the south end would cost about $6 to $7 million with the central and north end costing about $16 million.