LONGBOAT KEY (WWSB) - Longboat Key town officials have a lot on their plate nowadays. It’s something they are tackling one issue at a time.
Whether it’s building groins at the beach, roundabout concerns or a new arts center there is plenty on the table for them to tackle. The town is looking to add five adjustable groins as early as late next year. Two were built in 2014 at the North Shore Road Beach Access, three more would be built north of that location and two to the south of it. Town officials say this would help with the beach erosion problem that constantly plagues parts of the island.
“Their intent is to stabilize the erosion effects upon that range of beach, that when we place sand in there it stays there longer,” said James Linkogle, Public Works Project Manager for Longboat Key.
Officials are waiting to hear back from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as well as the US Army Corps of Engineers after submitting a permit regarding that project. From the beach to the roads, Longboat Key officials have concerns about the proposed roundabout at US 41 and Gulfstream Avenue. They say a signalized intersection still could be better because people visiting may have a difficult time navigating their way through a roundabout causing more traffic headaches. That location leads drivers to and from the southern portion of the island.
“What we’re hoping happens is everything that the traffic engineers for DOT modeled is accurate and that the roundabout does in fact provide a benefit to travelers using it," Isaac Brownman, Public Works Director for Longboat Key. "The concern is will it in fact function as modeled.”
One project town officials say will be very beneficial to their community is a new Arts, Culture and Education center also known as ACE, built at the site of the old Amore restaurant on Bay Isles Parkway. This is a partnership with Ringling College and a concept plan was approved last year. They are now looking to reduce the size and cost of the project, which would start with a park, then the facility over the next few years.
“We’re trying to create over time a gathering place here on this part of the Key so residents from the north and south can come and meet and attend an event, participate," said Tom Harmer, Town Manager for Longboat Key. "It could be a movie in the park, it could be a jazz event on Friday night or it can be a class at the art center.”