Town officials -past and present- and construction officials gathered for a reFRESH Waterlines Phase 1 Groundbreaking Ceremony at Town Hall on Monday afternoon.
Hosted by the Town of Fort Myers Beach, the brief ceremony that kicked off the actual construction of a new water system featured former Beach mayors sharing a few words and a photo op with all officials sporting hard hats and gold-colored shovels.
At completion, water service, fire protection service and street flooding issues will be improved upon.
Officials break ground for the construction of a new water system on Fort Myers Beach. The wok will improve a failing water system that dates back to the 1950s era on Estero Island.
"We've all worked together and everyone has had a part of this," said Lee County Commissioner Larry Kiker, a former Beach mayor. "It's going to be a lot of work, a lot of disruption, but in the end it will pay for itself."
Kiker reported the Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the funding of the Estero Boulevard road project in the amount of $50 million a week ago. The water system work required on the Beach main road will run simultaneously with that project.
"I'm thrilled it's happening said former Beach Mayor Ray Murphy. "It takes a real effort that started a long time ago. We look forward to the completion of it."
Phase 1 work of the Beach Waterline Replacement Project is set to begin in the Basin Based Neighborhood then continue on Bay Beach Lane and Laguna Shores.
Contractor Mitchell & Stark Construction Company will begin actual waterline work and stormwater work simultaneously. Construction activities include surveying, trenching to install new and same-sized waterlines and water mains, drainage system work and post-construction restoration. The team also includes Johnson Engineering, TetraTech and Cella Molnar & Associates.
"I'm proud of the Town for what they have done in the meantime," said former Beach Mayor Dan Hughes. "Best wishes with this project."
Babcock reaffirmed the total effort behind the project comes from many Town councils past and present.
"It's been a long time coming," said former Beach Mayor Dennis Boback. "It's been needed, and I'm glad it's getting started."
"The one thing with government is one person starts it and, down the road, somebody else finishes it," added former Beach Mayor and current Councilman Bob Raymond. "I am very happy we are doing it."