Officials and residents came together at Lido Beach to commemorate the completion of a shoreline restoration project decades in the making.
Addressing a crowd of dozens at Lido Beach, about 100 yards from the Gulf of Mexico, City Manager Marlon Brown made clear the degree to which a recently completed sand-dredging project had reshaped the barrier island’s shores.
“Where you sit today, you’d be sitting in water,” Brown said of the beach before the project.
Brown was speaking at the city’s Lido Beach Renourishment Celebration, held today to commemorate the completion of a shoreline protection initiative that dates back to the 1990s. The city teamed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replenish Lido Beach with sand taken from Big Pass, which had not been dredged before.
The idea was dormant for years before 2013, when the Army Corps and the city publicly reintroduced the proposal. Although the dredging drew opposition from Siesta Key residents — including a series of failed legal challenges — the project team ultimately gained state approval and began construction last year.
The renourishment added nearly 700,000 cubic yards of sand to a 1.56-mile segment of the barrier island, widening the beach by an average of 300 feet, the city said. The project also included the construction of two sand-retaining groins on south Lido Key.
In addition to Brown, speakers at today’s event included all five city commissioners, City Engineer Alex DavisShaw, Lt. Col. Todd Polk of the Army Corps of Engineers and Carl Shoffstall, president of the Lido Key Residents Association.
“It took us a little while to get here, but it’s certainly worth it,” DavisShaw said.
In lieu of a ribbon-cutting, officials and residents commemorated the project’s completion with a celebratory batting of beach balls.