Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Emergency Collier Creek Dredging Proposed



Gary McAlprin, the Coastal Zone Manager for Collier County brought the island some welcomed news on Monday evening when he advised the Marco Island City Council that he was seeking a declaration of an emergency regarding Collier Creek as the county seeks an expedited dredging permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Florida.

Hurricane Irma took out a large section of the seawall and docks at the Villa de Marco West Condominiums, causing a great deal of the ground area under those residences to be deposited into the mouth of Collier Creek. Debris associated with the seawall and the docks were also swept into the creek and into the Marco River.

Approximately one third of all the boating traffic travels into Collier Creek, which leads into Collier Bay and eventually into Smokehouse Bay, the Esplanade and under the bridge at Collier Boulevard and homes north of San Marco Road. “This is a major issue for the island and the value of properties,” said Councilman Bob Brown, who sits of the Coastal Advisory Committee.

Aerial shots of Collier Creek from 2015 (left) and now, post-Irma. The county is seeking an expedited dredging permit to remove hazardous storm debris. Photos by Steve Stefanides

Aerial shots of Collier Creek from 2015 (left) and now, post-Irma. The county is seeking an expedited dredging permit to remove hazardous storm debris. Photos by Steve Stefanides

“We have been dealing with the issues of the shifting sands into the mouth of the creek for some time now, this just exacerbates the issue and presents a serious safety issue regarding navigation. I think everyone should be pleased that we are moving forward on this, but we shouldn’t lose sight of a long term fix to the situation,” continued Brown.

McAlprin will bring forth the emergency declaration to the Collier County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, December 12th. That will allow them to proceed with an accelerated process to choose a vendor and fast track the permitting process.

As part of the request for FEMA to help defray the expenses, which could amount to approximately $1.3 million, the project would have to be completed by June 3, 2018. Parking on Bayside Opposed

An additional 20 spaces for parking along Bayside Court were part of a plan brought forward by the Ad Hoc Parking Solutions Committee’s Chairman Robert Cholka in his update to council on December 4th. That suggestion brought out approximately 25 residents from the area who believe it would add to the pedestrian and vehicular traffic problems on the heavily traveled section of Collier Boulevard.

A new crosswalk has recently been constructed near the intersection of Bayside and Collier to assist pedestrians crossing over to the eastside of Collier Boulevard.

All of the suggestions were taken under advisement and more dialogue is expected between City Council and the committee.

Council voted to continue to ease restrictions on residential parking in swales during the holiday season and extended the life of the Ad Hoc Parking Solutions Committee, which was to sunset under the original provisions of its charge by council. Ballfields Supported

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) recently heard from parents and children regarding the decision to terminate an interlocal agreement with the Collier County School District. That agreement provided the city with use of a recreation area abutting Tommie Barfield Elementary School and Marco Island Charter Middle School.

The field provides the only regulation ballfield for Little League players to use. Others also utilize the field, such as softball players, Marco Island Charter Middle School and Marco Island Academy.

The PRAC group forwarded a request to Marco Island City Council to rescind the termination letter. The termination letter would have ended the longstanding agree- ment that allowed the city the use of the fields, and placed maintenance responsibility on the city.

Council requested that the city manager convey the community’s desire to keep the agreement, and move forward to find the necessary funds to make required repairs and maintain the field, along with establishing an improved access plan for the field’s use. Seeking Support From School Board For MIA

Council also voted to send a letter of support to the Collier County School Board encouraging support for financial assistance to construct a permanent facility for Marco Island Academy. Councilor Larry Honig felt such an outreach would be important from his discussions with State Representative Byron Donalds.

The Collier County Legislative Delegation has received a request from the city to seek state funding for the local charter high school and listed that as their number two priority for seeking state assistance this year. Special Meeting For COPCN Issue

Marco Island City Council will hold a special meeting at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, December 12th in Council Chambers to review the final draft and financial projections for an application to Collier County to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (COPCN). This certificate would lead to obtaining the community’s rights to operate its own emergency medical transport and services program.

The issue has been a topic of concern for the last several years and this would be the next step to obtain the license from the State of Florida.

Council has also brought forward a request to the county legislative delegation to sponsor a “local bill” which would allow the city to bypass the county approval process and proceed directly to the State of Florida for that licensing.

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