County approves funding for CEPD to buy restrooms trailer, beach vehicle
The Captiva Erosion Prevention District has received funds to replace the portable toilets at Alison Hagerup Beach Park with an upgraded restroom trailer and purchase a beach monitoring vehicle.
At its June 14 meeting, the Lee County Tourist Development Council voted to approve a mid-year request by the CEPD for additional funding for the two items, as well as funding for maintenance and needed upkeep within the park area and for a part-time employee to conduct the beach monitoring.
“They voted in unanimous favor for granting us our funding request,” CEPD Administrator Damon Grant said. “They were receptive and supportive to the needs of Captiva – we’re extremely thankful.”
He explained that the previous administrator had already submitted the district’s funding request for fiscal year 2018-2019, which starts Oct. 1, before he took over the position. Believing the projects were eligible for TDC funding, Grant floated the idea of a mid-cycle request to the CEPD commissioners.
With their approval, he moved forward with the request, which the council accepted.
“The TDC allowed us to put in a request outside of the normal funding cycle,” Grant said. “I didn’t want to have to wait until October 2019 to get some improvements put in (at the beach park).
He explained that the next step is for the CEPD commissioners to approve the funding, which will likely take place at the August or September meeting. The funds would then be available in October.
Alison Hagerup Beach Park currently features a handful of single portable toilets.
“We just have the standard outside (portable toilets). There’s no running water,” Grant said, as compared to facilities on Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach that have sinks and running water.
“We’ve always had pretty basic amenities at the Alison Hagerup park,” he added.
Because a permanent restroom structure is not permitted, Grant looked into temporary options.
“It’s on a trailer, so they’ll be temporary in that nature,” he said of the future facilities.
With the approved $58,000 in TDC funding, the CEPD will set up a two-station portable restrooms trailer that comes with an additional ADA suite, including ADA toilet, sink and grab rails. It features air conditioning and heat strips, along with a utility room, exterior lighting and designer vinyl flooring.
The trailer includes a fold-up ADA ramp that uses a one-button execution.
“They’re actually air conditioned,” Grant said, noting that adjustments at the park will be made for the running water and such. “We’re going to have to make the site accommodate the new restrooms.”
The CEPD will also install a shower to rise off and new trash receptacles to replace the corroded ones, and the funds will help cover vegetation upkeep and replacement of the damaged fencing screening.
“We’re going to give the whole place a whole facelift,” he said. “And it’ll provide better ADA accommodations.”
As for the beach monitoring vehicle, the TDC approved $12,000 for its purchase.
“Part of our purview is to monitor the beach and identify erosion issues and hot spots,” Grant said. “Keep an eye on our dune vegetation and rope and posts around it and make sure everything is in good condition.”
One issue observed was the CEPD did not have a vehicle to do so.
“It’s five miles of beach,” he said of the shoreline requiring monitoring. “Unless you want to walk in the sand five miles a day, how do you go about checking that?”
The CEPD has received a quote for a 2018 Polaris Ranger 570 four-seater from Gator Sports in LaBelle. It will be used for daily monitoring of the beach for erosion and dune vegetation loss, as well for collecting trash found along the beach and identifying fish kills to be handled or reported on.
Grant explained that if it is a minor kill, the part-time employee can take care of the situation. The employee will also fill out daily reports on what is going on on the beach and the current status.
He noted that the part-timer could also serve in an informational role, educating beach-goers on why visitors are asked to fill in holes before heading out, why cleaning up trash is important and such.
“It just opens the door to a whole other level for the CEPD to get involved,” Grant said.