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Lido Key awaits renourishment project

The city could be facing some additional expenses to support the planned dredging of Big Pass to replenish the Lido shoreline.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. February 20, 2020
The city of Sarasota and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are teaming up on a project that will dredge Big Pass for the first time.
The city of Sarasota and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are teaming up on a project that will dredge Big Pass for the first time.
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On Feb. 27, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will review bids from contractors interested in managing a planned Lido Key shoreline renourishment project.

Depending on what those bids say, the city could have to pay more than it anticipated to support the dredging of Big Pass.

According to an item removed from the Monday’s City Commission agenda, the Lido renourishment project is expected to cost $19.6 million.

Under a funding agreement, the city would pay $6.9 million, and the Army Corps would fund the remainder of the project expenses. But if the actual bids come in higher than the budgeted costs, the agenda item states the Army Corps does not have authorization to allocate additional funding toward the project — which means the city would have to cover any extra expenses.

The agenda item proposed revising the agreement between the city and the Army Corps to voluntarily contribute additional funding toward the project if necessary. The Army Corps previously put the contract back out to bid after an initial round of solicitations failed to generate a cost-effective response. The agenda item identified the tourist development tax as the potential source for additional city spending and noted there is currently $1.3 million in tourist tax funds.

The city pulled that item from the agenda after the bid-unsealing date was delayed from Feb. 13 to Feb. 27. At Saturday’s Lido Key Residents Association meeting, City Engineer Alex DavisShaw said representatives for the Army Corps told her there might be additional federal funds available.

DavisShaw said the contract will not include one provision the city hoped would help reduce costs for the project: the use of a portion of Ted Sperling Park at South Lido Key as a staging area.

Although the county gave the city permission to use the land, DavisShaw said complications over listing Sarasota County as an insured party meant that detail was not included in the bid packet. Once a contractor is selected, DavisShaw said the agreement could be revised to include that area if necessary.

DavisShaw said the city hoped to begin work on the Lido renourishment project soon after the bids are unsealed. There are still two active lawsuits contesting the project, both filed by Siesta Key. Earlier this month, the Siesta Key Association filed the text of an appeal challenging a circuit court’s decision to uphold the dredging plans. A separate federal case is still awaiting a judge’s ruling.


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