'Do it the right way': City gets to the point, expands dredging project

Matt Algarin

While crews from Gator Dredging are still removing sand from Old Pass Lagoon, more money is needed to clear up another problem area.

"We actually have seen another relatively pressing area of concern," said City Engineer David Campbell.

And due to the project's time frame, City Manager Maryann Ustick said the city had to make a decision promptly.

"We are kind of in a situation where we need to make a decision tonight," she said during Monday's City Council meeting.

With a 6-0 vote, city leaders agreed to fund an additional $10,000 to remove between 600-800-cubic yards of sand from an area at the tip of Norriego Point where sand had shoaled into the channel. Councilwoman Sandy Trammell abstained from the vote since her son, Matthew Trammell, works for Taylor Engineering, who is overseeing the project.

The city's original emergency permit allowed them to dredge between 16,000-18,000-cubic yards of sand from the chocked up navigation channel and harbor mouth. But with only $200,000 to fund the project, the city only planned to remove about 10,000-cubic yards of sand.

Per the city's agreement with Gator Dredging, the project must be completed by May 24. Crews will continue to work through the week, then remove some of their equipment for the Memorial Day weekend, before picking back up Wednesday.

For Councilman Tuffy Dixon, it just made sense to have the work done while crews were still in town.

"I just can't see demobilizing and knowing that we have a problem there that we need to take care of," he said. "I want to make sure we finish it and do it the right way."

In other business, city leaders:

• Approved on first reading an ordinance that would allow for a waiver from the requirement to install sidewalks for single-family detached and duplex residences. The ordinance must be passed on a second reading before it goes into effect.

• Approved on second reading an ordinance that would regulate the consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages on city right of ways, such as sidewalks, streets and parks that are outside of the harbor-centered festive marketplace.

• Chose Barton, Fenstermaker, Tondello & Associates, who happened to be the lowest bidder, as its insurance agent/broker for group health and ancillary benefits provider.

• Approved $29,500 in funding to Tetra Tech for services relating to the future replacement of the roof at the Destin Community Center.

• Approved $48,581 in funding for the annual transportation concurrency analysis and biennial multimodal transportation district monitoring reports.

• Honored city planner and stormwater/floodplain manager David Forstrom as Employee of the Quarter.

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