Workers have been dumping new white sand at the rate of 590 cubic yards a day to buttress the dunes and protect State Road A1A from the Flagler Beach city limit down into Ormond By the Sea. Yet Flagler Beach itself, including the area at the heart of the city that has eroded even more since Hurricane Ian, remains critically defenseless.
Florida Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie told a group of Flagler County and Flagler Beach officials that they’ll need to lobby their state representatives for additional money if they hope to have all the funds necessary for an 800-foot concrete replacement pier.
The first Witches of Flagler Beach Bike Ride surprised residents and drivers along a 2.5-mile circuit in the city this morning as some 30 witches on bikes took to the streets, an event organized by the fledgling Flagler Beach Creates, a volunteer organization focused on enriching the city’s public art and culture.
With repair costs pegged at $2 million over 14 months and dangerous collapses possible, the Flagler Beach City Commission agreed to condemn the rickety pier and wall it off, accelerating a demolition schedule in preparation for the construction of a $15 to $18 million, 800-foot concrete pier that could be completed in late 2025.
The city’s message was: Between city preparedness, the mobilization of volunteers, the city’s (and the county’s) continuing luck and ongoing planning for recovery, Flagler Beach made it through with limited damage but to its pier and beaches, which are unrecognizable. Some residents were a bit less cheery.
Even under the parts of the pier that remain, piles have disappeared, bracing has been severely damaged, and hardware even on parts of the pier closer to the shore–parts not made of stainless steel–has failed. The entire structure is severely damaged to the point that further collapses of sections of the pier during mildly heavy seas would not be surprising.
During a 60-minute stop in Flagler County this morning Gov. Ron DeSantis and Emergency management Director Kevin Guthrie took in the extent of damage to the pier and Flagler’s nearly-erased dunes, and the governor repeatedly spoke of Rep. Paul Renner, the incoming Speaker of the House, as an opportunity for Flagler to score big in funding help.
The Flagler Beach City Commission Thursday evening voted to delay a series of increases to water, sewer, garbage and stormwater until Oct. 27–not because they were uncomfortable with the increases, but because they felt the increases may not be enough. So the rates to be proposed in two weeks will likely be higher than those before them on Thursday.
The Flagler Beach City Commission is wrestling with whether to repair the pier at a potential cost of $650,000 and reopen it for well short of a year or keep it closed until it is demolished next year, ahead of the construction of a new, concrete pier. More data and public input may sway the commission.
The Flagler Beach City Commission Thursday is set to approve banning smoking almost any tobacco product on beaches, in parks and on the city’s boardwalk, with the exception of unfiltered cigars. Enforcement will be an issue: there are no intentions to police the ban, which does not extend to the beaches under county jurisdiction. The ordinance is silent on vaping and marijuana products.