Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neptune Promises Again to Build Ramp Project First Discussed 5 Years Ago

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Neptune Promises Again to Build Ramp Project First Discussed 5 Years Ago

Article excerpt

Byline: Caren Burmeister and Beau Halton , Shorelines staff writers

NEPTUNE BEACH -- After even the briefest rainstorms, a body of water forms near the dunes at the foot of Atlantic Boulevard, forming an obstacle for people headed to the beach.

It's been called Lake Harriet, in honor of City Council member Harriet Pruette, who's been complaining about the water for years.

The Neptune Beach lifeguards, whose headquarters is next to the occasional pond, call it other names such as Polio Pond, drawing attention to the fact the water is often dirty.

"Something really has to be done," lifeguards Lt. Brice McEvoy said Tuesday afternoon after a storm. "This needs to be cleaned up."

Several people on their way to the beach that day grumbled as they took another route to the beach, tiptoed along the wall of the adjacent Sea Turtle Inn or simply waded through the murky water.

After five years of unsuccessful attempts, city officials are again promising to build a wheelchair ramp that will help handicapped people and others reach the beach.

While plans are preliminary, the wooden ramp is proposed to run from the lifeguard station east over sand dunes and the low area that fills with water during storms. It will end where there are surf chairs, which, with their big plastic tires, let handicapped people roll along the beach and into shallow shore break.

The ramp was first discussed about five years ago, but the project was never done.

"We have been waiting all this time," Pruette said. "It should have been done."

Town Center, which straddles Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach at the end of Atlantic Boulevard, is a focal point and attracts people to the beach, Pruette said. But frequent flooding due to inadequate drainage near the lifeguard station and the Town Center intersection creates a barrier to the beach, she said.

"When it rains you can't get to the beach," Pruette said. "We avoid it."

Town Center organizers chose not to tackle the drainage problem because it was too expensive and complex an issue to resolve. …

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