By Mary Thurwachter

Lantana officials aren’t certain of the age of the sea wall at Bicentennial Park, but they do know the last time repairs were made there was at least 20 years ago, and a restoration is due.

To that end, the Town Council, at its meetings on Jan. 8 and 22, accepted grants from Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection to get the sea wall hardening project underway.

While officials don’t know exactly how much the project will cost, they expect it will be a multimillion-dollar endeavor.

“We won’t really know the extent of this until we get into it,” said Eddie Crockett, public services director. “We have applied for as many grants as possible” — two to date. “There will be some overlap because the sea wall extends from the property next to the fishing tour company over to the complex west of Bicentennial Park.” 

One of the DEP grants is for $200,000, with the town putting up a matching $200,000. The second one has the state and town each contributing $900,000.

The latter grant covers rehabilitating the entire 2,100 feet of sea wall directly adjacent to high-density, multi-family housing, commercial structures and a major roadway. The other grant covers only the Bicentennial Park portion of the sea wall.

In both cases, the town will pay its share from available reserves.

Before any work can begin, an engineering study will need to be done. On Jan. 22, the council voted to pay its engineering company, Baxter & Woodman, Inc., $131,934 to tackle that job.

Crockett said water has frequently breached the sea wall.

“The primary concern is the walkway, which has been undermined,” he said. “The repairs will likely entail a rebuild of the walkway and extending the height of the sea wall.”

Possible reasons for the damage, he said, “are sea level rise and coastal impact.”

The council also accepted a grant agreement with the state DEP for improvements to Maddock Park on West Drew Street, which is home to the town’s dog park. In this case, the $150,000 project will be paid for with $112,500 from the state and $37,500 from the town’s reserves.

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