The Longboat Key Town Commission chose a cheaper, slightly darker sand than the whitest sand option available at its Monday, April 5 regular meeting.
The exact cost of the sand option is unknown, but is expected to cost anywhere from $28 million to $35 million, or about $10 million to $15 million more than the town’s last renourishment project in 2006.
That 2005-06 beach project cost approximately $21 million.
The slightly darker sand will be placed over the entire beach and doesn’t require another layer of sand in higher erosion spots, which makes the project cheaper because the town doesn’t need to extract sand from two separate sources.
“The sand you chose is the least expensive and a very good performing beach,” said Coastal Planning and Engineering President Tom Campbell. “It’s jut not as bright white as the whitest option.”
The most expensive sand option, which the commission did not ultimately choose after voting for it last month, is a fine white sand that’s 0.18 millimeters.
The sand that will now be placed on the beach is a medium-grain sand that’s less white and 0.25 millimeters in size and normally used in high-erosion areas.
St. Denis explained in a memo to the commission that a referendum question for the beach project’s funding will occur next March, with the project beginning in November 2011.
St. Denis pointed out, though, that the white sand that Longboaters significantly prefer increases the cost of the upcoming project when compared to past projects.
The town decided on a sand option now so that it stays on schedule for its renourishment project. The next beach project was moved up a one year to November 2011, in order for the town to qualify for a $5 million reimbursement from Port Dolphin LLC, the company that’s building a natural-gas pipeline in the Gulf that’s impacting town sand resources.
Mayor George Spoll, Vice Mayor Jim Brown and Commissioners David Brenner and Gene Jaleski supported the gray sand option.
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