By Jane Smith

    Boat-loving residents came to Delray Beach’s outreach meeting to hear when work would begin on raising the seawall in Veterans Park and on replacing two docks there for marine access to the Intracoastal Waterway.
    The docks will be exactly where they are right now, said Brian LaMotte, project engineer with Wantman Group Inc., of West Palm Beach. Moving them would require more permits, delaying the project’s start, he said in late April.
    Delray Beach will pay about $80,000 to Wantman to survey, design and supervise the construction of the seawall cap and the two docks.
    The public seawall will be 20 inches higher and level for its entire 400-foot length to the Atlantic Avenue bridge, said Timothy DeLand, a Wantman engineer.
    Then in 25 years, the city can decide whether another 16 inches are needed because of rising sea levels.
The height can be raised with a triangular parapet on top of the seawall, LaMotte said.
    The docks, which have rotted wood, were closed last September because they were unsafe to use, LaMotte said. The replacement docks should be usable by January.
    The tentative schedule calls for the City Commission to approve the construction contract in June, said Isaac Kovner, city engineer. Callaway Marine Technologies Inc., of West Palm Beach, will do the work for $585,000, he said.
    Delray Beach is in the bidding process for the southern portion of the repair work along Marine Way and the city’s marina. That work is set to begin next year.
    One resident who lives on Marine Way questioned why the projects weren’t coordinated because rising water would find the low spot and flood the area.
    Kovner agreed and then he explained the government process for doing projects. First, the city has to budget the money, next hire a consultant who will survey the site to make recommendations of what should be done, then the construction project will go out for bid and the City Commission must approve the contract.  
    Capt. Joe Reardon, who operates Delray Yacht Cruises out of Veterans Park, said during low tide times, some smaller boats won’t be able to tie off. “More ladders will be needed,” he said.
    The current contract calls for two ladders, Kovner said. But four more ladders and lower cleats for tying off can be added after commission approval, under the contingency portion, he said.
    Reardon will install a hydraulic lift for his yachts to use during low tide times.
    Depending on the boat sizes, LaMotte said, about three boats can use the 90-foot dock at one time. Dock parking is limited to two hours, according to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.  
    Kovner asked the group of 20 people how often they would like to meet to get updates. Monthly was agreed to be appropriate.
    Delray Beach also is surveying the condition of public and private seawalls along the Intracoastal Waterway. The work is supposed to be finished in mid-summer, said Missie Barletto, assistant director of the Environmental Services Department.
    Two directors of the Beach Property Owners Association, Andy Katz and Bob Victorin, attended the meeting. They said they would spread the word when the survey is finished to their members who live on the east side of the waterway.

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