Tourists voice concerns over Cape San Blas renourishment project

Gulf County

CAPE SAN BLAS, Fla. (WMBB) — Cape San Blas has been undergoing a beach renourishment project for nearly 7 weeks. As they are halfway through the process, vacationers and residents have had their concerns.

Gulf County is in the process of moving 2.1 million cubic feet of sand from Honeyville to the Cape San Blas beaches.

Funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Federation and the state, in total, the project costs 5.8 million dollars.

The purpose is to help better protect the houses and other infrastructure.

“A lot of our tax base is here on the cape, so protecting those is obviously important not just to homeowners, but also the county and to our ad valorem tax base as well,” said County Engineer, Clay Smallwood.

So far, the project has drawn the attention of residents and tourists on the cape.

“Overall it’s been positive, I think by and large people understand projects like this to protect the beach, protect their homes and other infrastructure. Certainly, there are minor inconveniences, it’s a construction site.” said Smallwood.

The color of the sand, loud construction, and low beach visibility have been some of the main concerns.

“It is annoying, if anything grows on it then it does block the view. There’s places down the beach that we would not stay at because there’s too much shrubbery, you can’t sit and relax at your place, sit and enjoy the beach, or even watch your kids on the beach,” said Vacationer, Renee Dehaan.

Dehaan and her family have been visiting the cape for nearly 5 years and said the beach was better in years past.

“There was more room on the beach, we could walk out right from our place right to the beach, you didn’t have to go over any hills or steps or walk around,” said Dehaan.

Gulf County Engineer, Clay Smallwood, says he hopes people see the overall need for the project.

“We have folks at the pit that are keeping up with that to make sure it is beach quality sand. We have folks here at the beach that are keeping an eye on that as well.” said Smallwood.

Other vacationers say the construction hasn’t bothered them.

“They did a really good job. They only came out here and did construction the other day when there was nobody on the beach. So it didn’t disturb anybody at the time.” said Tourist, Scott Herrmann.

Herrmann says that they understand the overall goal of this project, and in the meantime, the construction is no big deal.

“Better than the alternative, at some point you’re going to have big storm surges come in, and it’s better than being a big FEMA site.” said Vacationer, Mark Zigler.

“You have to replenish the sand, the beach moves. There are nice houses here, you have to protect them somehow.

Smallwood says all of the equipment should be cleared off the beach by June 1st.

From there, 600,000 shrubbery plants and other vegetation will be placed in the dunes.

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