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Lido Beach nearly built despite fight from Siesta

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

Despite the intrusion of recent storms and never-ending challanges from a Siesta Key organization, the beach building on south Lido Key is nearly complete and soon two groins will be constructed on the south end of the island to help retain the sand.

Due to high seas followed by mechanical repairs, Rockbridge, the Lido Beach sand-recycling vessel, was shut down for a few days recently.

The sand placement is being funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the City of Sarasota and is the first in a series of renourishments that will dredge sand from Big Pass and maintain the Lido Beach profile.

The contract between Cottrell Contracting Corp. and the USACE calls for a total of 710,000 cubic yards of sand in total to be spread from the southernmost tip of Lido Key north to the Lido Key Public Beach. The current work zone is temporarily fenced off to the public and extends approximately 1,000 linear feet from the area of the Lido Surf and Sand Residences to the Lido Beach Resort.

The project has been fought by the Siesta Key Association (SKA) in court and on administrative levels, but to no avail. The fight against the project has cost more than $1 million in legal fees to Lido Key residents and businesses as well as the City and the Siesta Key opponents. Lido Key is seeking reimbursement for a portion of their legal fees.

The courts have all found that the project has been lawfully designed and implemented. Monitoring is in place to ensure Siesta Key and any surrounding areas are not negatively impacted by the dredging of the Big Pass shoal.

The nexus if the battle centers on the fear that the dredging could erode parts of Siesta Key. Meanwhile Lido Key residents have argued that the sand that filled Big Pass actually came from their eroded shoreline.

One fact is undisputed: the Lido Beach shoreline was in such a dire state of erosion over the past years that property and infrastructure was under threat from the Gulf and the City and Army both agreed that the dredging project was the most sensible way to recycle sand least from the shoreline and that has accreted in the Pass.

Recently, the SKA has written the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) faulting the USACE in its documentation related to the groin construction.

Nonetheless, the project is moving forward, and the groin construction is slated to commence in November with staging of material and actual work about a month later. The groin project should be complete by next May.

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