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Major projects make progress on Longboat

Over a dozen projects were included in the town's January update.

A program to manage sand on the Greer Island spit are among projects in the works on the barrier island.
A program to manage sand on the Greer Island spit are among projects in the works on the barrier island.
Photo by Lauren Tronstad
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With nearly a dozen major projects in progress, the Longboat Key Public Works department provided town commissioners with an update to ensure commissioners know what's happening with each. 

Here are the highlights from the January update.  

Town Center Green

The town center project, which will completed in three phases, is well into phase two of construction. 

Phase two includes installing pedestrian walkways, a master stormwater system, a donor-funded pavilion, restrooms, night-time walkway lighting, landscaping and electrical, sewer and water connections. 

The construction contract was awarded to Jon F. Swift Construction for about $2.23 million. 

Site work and the pavilion construction, which will be named after the primary donors Paul and Sarah Karon, is underway. The phase is on track for completion in June. 

Phase three of the project has been classified as a “longer term effort” as the town has been in discussions with Sarasota County regarding a partnership toward a multi-purpose community center, which would include a county library location.

The county has budgeted $1 million in fiscal year 2023 for planning and design of the project. Prior to Tom Harmer’s departure as town manager, he and county officials worked to craft a “principles of agreement” document. The agreement has been reviewed by town commissioners and county commissioners voted in support. 

Greer Island sand spit

The town is getting closer to completing a plan to maintain the Greer Island spit. Tidal forces work to build up the spit around Greer Island, also known as Beer Can Island, over time. This reduces navigation and water flow around the island. 

In 2022, the town worked to dredge the southern part of the spit to keep water flowing and sand from connecting it to the mainland. Spit growth reduces canal 1A access and flushing of the island’s lagoon. 

The project of moving sand from the spit to the Gulf side has gone out for bids. Once those are received and approved, the department anticipates the project to take about 120 days from start to finish. 

Canal navigation maintenance program

The town is still in the process of developing a canal navigation dredge program to maintain the town's 81 canals in hopes of alleviating the need for a major dredge project every few years.

The last major dredge of canals the town completed was in 2003. 

The town has identified 14 priority canals, but the list may grow since the original study was conducted in 2016. Priority canals were categorized as such due to the state of the canal and its ability to meet its designed intent: navigation.

Department employees are continuing to work with canal-fronting property owners to assist with private dredging interest prior to implementation of a program. 

An update to the Town Commission is scheduled for the Feb. 21 workshop. 

Sea level rise study 

The final phase, implementation, is all that is left to complete for the town's sea level rise study. A final presentation to commissioners is expected at the Feb. 21 workshop. 

The town is pursuing grant funding to help pay for recommended actions. American Rescue Plan Act funding, $1.8 million, has already been set aside to help offset costs.

Neighborhood drainage assessments

Reports for assessments made for the Sleepy Lagoon and Buttonwood Harbor neighborhoods have already been completed and were presented to commissioners in December. 

The town is pursuing grant funding for the first set of action items for both neighborhoods. The same $1.8 million in ARPA funding set aside for the sea level rise study is planned for use toward projects in this category as well. 

Country Club Shores left turn lane 

The town’s initial project design has been completed and the Florida Department of Transportation permit has been obtained. The town is seeking FDOT construction funding, which requires additional design review and new construction cost estimates. The project is currently targeted for fiscal year 2024 to bid the project. 

Broadway at Gulf of Mexico Drive roundabout

Design is about 90% complete for the north end roundabout project. A complete design is expected this month.

Complete streets corridor plan

Development of the Gulf of Mexico Drive complete streets corridor plan is complete, and the town has applied for SUN trail grant-funding for the multiuse trail component. Next steps include discussing options with FDOT to fund a portion of corridor plan improvements. 

Town Hall hazard mitigation grant program

The town was awarded a grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund improvements including replacement of the Town Hall generator, hardening and improving window openings and the roof. Improvements require additional funding, which the town is hoping to receive from federal grants. Completion is pending budget and schedule feasibility. 

Country club shores asbestos pipe replacement

Design of all project phases has been completed with phases one and two being advertised for bid this spring. 

The town budget currently has $7.1 million planned for the project. If bids come in over budget, the town will re-advertise as a smaller, revised project. 

Streets resurfacing program

The department has been reviewing streets identified by residents, staff and vendors to develop priorities for resurfacing. The first round of repairs is underway. Jungle Queen Road is among streets next up on the list. 



Lauren Tronstad

Lauren Tronstad is the Longboat Key news reporter for the Observer. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2021. Before moving to Florida, she worked for the Columbia Daily Tribune.

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