As the proposed renourishment of Lido Beach remains a contested issue, the St. Armands Residents Association has submitted a petition to the city and county indicating that people in the area stand behind the project.
The project, which the city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers propose, would take sand from Big Pass to renourish critically eroded portions of Lido Beach. Several Siesta Key organizations oppose the project and have voiced concerns about how dredging Big Pass — which has never been dredged before — would affect Siesta.
The Army Corps said preliminary models indicated the effect on Siesta Key would be negligible, and the city expects to receive an updated report from the group next month. The county and the city have both declined to substantively address the issue until that report is finalized.
Still, with organizations signaling their resistance to the proposed project, the St. Armands Residents Association took action to show its support. The group gathered 94 signatures from area residents who believe that following through with the renourishment is critical.
“Lido Beach has suffered severe beach erosion in recent years and is in urgent need of replenishment,” the petition states. “ ... We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to authorize the approval and implementation of the (project).”
Residents association President Hugh Fiore submitted the petitions to the city. In a March interview with the Sarasota Observer, Fiore said the group was in favor of the renourishment because Lido Beach serves as an important asset to nearby neighborhoods.
Fiore also said the beach was the economic engine that ensured the success of nearby businesses. If the beach isn’t preserved, he said, the effects would be devastating.
“There would be no hotels if they didn’t have a beach to come to,” Fiore said. “It drives the economic prosperity of the shops on St. Armands Circle.”
Contact David Conway at [email protected].