Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Enter Sandman?

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Enter Sandman?

Article excerpt

Can you renourish Lido without harming other beaches?

Nearly 40 years ago, countywide voters chose to increase their tax bills in order to buy South Lido Beach -- which, at the time, was targeted for development as a private marina, golf course and condo project. The public purchase preserved the area as a permanent recreation and environmental asset for the entire community.

We retell this today in order to remind those unfamiliar with its history that the park -- though located within the city of Sarasota's boundaries -- is a countywide facility. County staff also maintain the park, which was purchased with assistance from state and federal dollars as well.

Considering this history, county commissioners deserve a say in the deliberations over the city's controversial proposal for a sand renourishment project in the area.

The proposal, spearheaded by the city of Sarasota and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is designed to add sand to thousands of feet of at-risk beachfront that lies within the city, north of the park. But the project also includes about 600 feet within or adjacent to the park itself, a county official said.

Groins to be installed

Most controversially, the plan calls for several sub-sand groins to cross a portion of the park.

The purpose of the groins is to help slow the loss of sand from Lido Key, which has needed frequent and costly "renourishment" over the decades.

Groins are controversial because they can cause downstream erosion. The concern at South Lido is whether groins there might destabilize Siesta Key, which lies to the south, just across Big Pass.

Another part of the disputed project would dredge a portion of the pass -- which has not been dredged before -- raising further questions about the potential consequences of tampering with nature.

This is not the first time groin construction was considered near Big Pass. In 1976, local officials discussed the possibility as a response to serious erosion at South Lido Beach (now named Ted Sperling Park). …

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