A low-lying seawall located within a historic property near arguably the thinnest part of beachfront on Estero Island has been approved to be replaced.
The Fort Myers Beach Town Council unanimously granted approval to have the seawall at Newton Park reconstructed and awarded the bid to Marine Contracting Group in the amount of $189,969 to do the work.
According to Town records, the project is being mostly funded through capital grant funds allocated for the seawall component and the annual maintenance for beach access ways provided by Lee County Tourist Development Council. The remainder of the balance amount may be paid for by budgeted maintenance funds for access ways.
The seawall at Newton Park has been approved to go under a reconstruction. Most of the project's work —and possibly all of the work if a County approval happens— has been funded.
"The bids came in higher than we anticipated," said Town Public Works Director Cathie Lewis. "I have also requested from TDC that they consider the allocation of some other project funds that are unlikely to be spent to make up the difference. I am hoping we receive approval for that. (If not,) we have adequate capital budget this year to make up the difference."
Marine Contracting Group provided the lowest bid of three qualifying bidders. The Punta Gorda-based marine design and construction services company also guaranteed that a major part of the project completion will be achieved within 90 days from the notice to proceed and final completion within 105 days of said notice.
The bid breakdown of costs include mobilization and demobilization at $5,128, demolition and disposal of the current wall at 10,000, seawall construction at $130,680 and construction of access ramps at 44,161. The 264-foot seawall will be constructed with precast concrete panels.
Kelly Brothers Inc of Fort Myers placed a bid of $222,066.45, while Quality Enterprises of Naples put in a bid of $258,736.
All three bidders were required to visit the site of the proposed project to understand the scope of work and conditions.
Councilwoman Rexann Hosafros questioned the extent of the work to be done. While the seawall looks somewhat intact and not too damaged from the naked eye, other than some areas that need repair, a rebuild needs to be done due to the wall's foundation.
"Currently, there has been quite a bit of accretion in that area, and the majority of the seawall is covered with sand now," said Lewis. "If you were to see that area exposed, you would see the disrepair."
The embankment and shore-based structure is used to provide protection and to lessen coastal erosion. The cap will be set at the same height as the current wall's cap.
Newton Park is located at 4650 Estero Blvd. It is a beachfront property and historic home rich in island history associated with deceased icons Jim and Ellie Newton, whose extensive friendships with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Charles Lindbergh and others are recorded in Jim Newton's book "Uncommon Friends." The park offers picnic tables, bocce courts, a chickee hut and public restrooms.
Here is a listing of some Newton Park amenities and activities:
n Open Bocce: Two bocce ball courts at Newton Park are handicapped accessible and afford a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico. Bocce will get you off the couch and into the fresh air, perfect your hand eye coordination and make you think as you roll your way to triumph. No equipment provided. No experience necessary. Free to all who would like to use the courts.
n Beginners' Yoga: Yoga is a wonderful activity that simply makes you feel better. Practicing the postures, breathing exercises and meditation is healthy for the body, mind and spirit. Yoga lets you tune in, chill out, shape up -- all at the same time, while enjoying a panoramic gulf view from inside the historic Seven Seas home.
Beginners' Yoga is offered Tuesdays at 5:45 p.m. Year-round. The cost is $10 per class. No registration required.
n Treasures of the Sea Guided Beach Walk
Aside from the beautiful view of the ocean and the great bird watching, there are many benefits of walking on the beach. Join a guided beach walk with an experienced biologist and explore the natural treasures that wash ashore on Estero Island beaches. Learning about the sea treasures and even picking up a pretty shell will relax and re-energize you as nothing else can.
The event is Wednesdays at 9 a.m. for approximately 1 hour. Free.
Beach walkers should wear sunscreen, appropriate clothing, shoes, and hats, and bring water and a container for any sea treasures found that are not alive.