The long-planned and more than $12 million transformation of Norriego Point is set to kick off on Wednesday.
The city is partnering with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection on the stabilization and recreation project, which local officials began discussing in 1999. Settlement money from the 2010 BP oil spill will be used to pay for the work, which is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2019.
“This has taken a lot of years, and we are just delighted that we’re finally able to start moving dirt,” Mayor Scott Fischer said.
Fischer will deliver remarks at the project’s groundbreaking ceremony at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Other dignitaries who will speak at the public event include former Mayor Sam Seevers.
Seevers, who served as a city councilwoman from 2006-2010 and then as mayor from 2010-2014, was highly instrumental in obtaining funding for the project, Destin spokesman Doug Rainer said. Project officials, including those from the FDEP, also will help celebrate the groundbreaking.
Event attendees are asked to wear clothing and shoes that they don’t mind getting sandy. They will be encouraged to walk on the point one last time before the work begins.
The project’s first phase will involve stabilizing and armoring the point against erosion.
Sheet piling, rock breakwaters and rock shoreline stabilization structures will be installed and 1,150 linear feet of shoreline will be restored.
About 5 acres of sand will be dredged from the East Pass channel and added to the 7.6-acre point, and new swimming areas will be created on the East Pass side.
Pearce Barrett, who is the FDEP’s project manager for the Norriego Point work, told the City Council earlier this year that the rocks for the project will be transported by a barge.
Columbia, Illinois-based Luhr Bros. Inc. is the contractor for the $9.7 million first phase, which is anticipated to be substantially completed by May 31.
When phase one is finished, boats will still be able to pull up along the beach on the harbor side of the point or go to new, select spots on the East Pass side.
“By armoring the entrance to the harbor, we won’t have to dredge it every year or every other year to allow the fishing fleet boats into and out of the harbor,” Fischer said. “Plus, we’re going to get a new park.”
The project’s second phase will focus on dune restoration and is set to be completed in the fall of 2018.
This segment will include the planting of about 28,000 square feet of sea oats, which will help stabilize the dunes and provide habitat and a food source for birds and other wildlife, according to the FDEP. The budget for the dune vegetation totals $50,000.
The last phase, which will be finished in early 2019, will consist of the addition of up to $2.25 million worth of recreational amenities and other features. They include restrooms, a park shelter, three dune walkovers, a boardwalk around the point and paved parking spots, according to city information.
Fischer said other features, such as an access road, roundabout, showers and a viewing pavilion, also might be added.
“As we near completion of the hardening of the point, (the FDEP) will start the designs of what will be at the park, with input from the public,” he said.