City signs off on county's $5.2M Park Shore beach renourishment project
The city's Park Shore beaches are set to receive thousands of dump truck loads of sand as part of Collier County's $5.2 million beach renourishment project, which could begin as early as next week.
Clam Pass, North Park Shore and Park Shore Beach will receive a combined total of 165,000 tons of sand. The sand, brought in from the Stewart Mine in Immokalee, will be spread over 2.5 miles of shoreline.
Collier County commissioner Penny Taylor — whose district includes the city of Naples — County Manager Leo Ochs and Gary McAlpin, manager of the county’s Coastal Zone Management, attended Wednesday's Naples City Council meeting to present the project to the council members.
"This (project) is not dissimilar to other beach renourishment projects that we've done in the past in the city," Ochs said. "We believe we have a solid record of performance both in terms of delivering a project safely and on budget and on time."
Park Shore was renourished most recently in 2016 when the county brought in 30,000 cubic yards of sand, or about 1,500 dump truck loads. Prior to that, the last renourishment was in 2013.
This time the county will dump 120,000 cubic yards between Doctors Pass and Clam Pass. Another renourishment should not be necessary until 2024, barring “exceptional storms, hurricanes or unexpected weather conditions,” according to a June commission report.
Trucks will use the Horizon Way beach access to bring in sand to the southern portion of the project. Workers will use a conveyor system at the Seagate Beach pedestrian access to haul in sand at the northern section. Both unloading areas have been used in the past for beach renourishment.
Vice Mayor Gary Price praised the county for its previous Park Shore beach renourishment projects and said he has "no concerns" about the current project.
"Last time we did a truck haul I was concerned about that impact it'd have on our community, but you all did an outstanding job," Price said to McAlpin.
Councilwoman Ellen Seigel was also complimentary.
"I was president of the Park Shore Association the first time that this truck renourishment process was necessary, when it was no longer possible to do renourishment by offshore barges (and) that project went off without a hitch," she said.
As for why the county no longer uses offshore dredges to pump sand onto the beach, which was its standard operating procedure until 2013, McAlpin said there's no sand left to be dredged.
"There's no accessible, beach-quality sand left in the nearshore in all of Collier County," he said. The closest location is offshore Captiva Island, which is about 40 miles away.
Cost is another reason why the county switched from dredging to truck hauling.
In 2013 the sole bid for an offshore dredging project came in at $32 million, more than twice the county’s budget for the project and a cost of $89 a cubic yard, according to previous reporting. That compared to $27 per cubic yard for a 2006 dredging project.
And prices for barges have remained high, McAplin said, making it more cost effective to use truck hauls.
About 70 trucks will make three or four trips each day, seven days a week, according to McAlpin.
Work could begin as soon as next week, Ochs said, and is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year, although the county hopes it will be completed by Thanksgiving.
The county’s Coastal Advisory Committee first recommended the project for approval in May with a unanimous vote. The Tourist Development Council then unanimously approved the project later that month.
Beach renourishment projects are funded through the county's tourist tax, a 5% levy on short-term rentals of six months or less and hotel stays, according to the Collier County Tax Collector's website.
USA TODAY - Florida Network environment reporter Karl Schneider contributed to this report.