County staff is continuing negotiations with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection over a permit it needs to change plans for removal of dredge material from Palmer Point Park on the north end of Casey Key.
“We’re still working on it,” James K. Harriott Jr., executive director of the Public Works Department said Tuesday. “(The permit allication) shouldn’t be a problem. It’s just a waiting game.”
Additionally, because of other changes, staff is negotiating with the contractor, regarding the final payment for all the work, Harriott said.
Paul Semenac, project manager for the park restoration effort, told the Siesta Key Association board in October he hoped to begin the final part of the park work Nov. 1.
Because of complaints from residents of two different neighborhoods, county staff had talked with the contractor, Tampa Contracting Services Inc., about removing the dredge material by barge to the FDOT right of way on the mainland side of the north Siesta bridge. The only deadline of concern, Semenac said in October, was June 5, when FDOT plans to begin renovations of the bridge. The use of the FDOT right of way would have to be completed before then, Semenac said.
In early November, Semenac said he had obtained FDOT approval for use of the right of way. The only delay at that time, he said, was the need to obtain the FDEP permit.
When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers created the Intracoastal Waterway in the 1960s, it dumped dredge material in the bay by the site where the park was created. The contractor for the restoration effort began burning invasive tree species in the park Aug. 1. However, the dredge material had to be removed from the site, Semenac had explained to the SKA, as one major goal of the project is to improve the quality of water in the bay.
Semenac said the barges would come up the Intracoastal Waterway to the FDOT site at the bridge. There, the material would be offloaded onto trucks. No flagmen would be used to help the trucks turn left from the area by the bridge onto Siesta Drive, Semenac said.
Harriott said Tuesday he did not know when the contractor would begin the last phase of the project.
In a related matter Tuesday, the County Commission voted 4-1 to approve a change order for the Palmer Point Park restoration in the amount of $33,044.31.
A Nov. 15 memo Harriott sent to the commission said the existing Siesta Key/Casey Key water main connection is located at a shallow depth in the project area.
A partial relocation of the water main had to be completed, he added, before the restoration could be completed.