Posted on September 6, 2016
By Kate Flexter, MySuncoast
Carl Shoffstall has walked Lido Beach nearly every morning for 14 years.
“It’s the most beautiful place on the earth as far as I’m concerned,” said Shoffstall.
Over time though, he’s watched his slice of paradise slowly wash away, as the shoreline continues to shrink.
“We need the sand,” said Shoffstall. “It’s at a critical mass.”
The situation is only magnified in the wake of Tropical Storm Hermine.
“We can’t take another one,” said Shoffstall. “We cannot take another storm.”
As the shoreline erodes, it adds urgency to the controversial topic of dredging Big Pass shoal.
The City of Sarasota along with the Army Corps of Engineers plans to use the sand between Lido Key and Siesta Key to build an 80-foot berm to protect Lido Beach
In past interviews though, Siesta Key residents told us they’re concerned that the project would permanently impact Siesta Key beaches. They even plan to file a lawsuit against the City and the Army Corps.
“Without scientific assurances that everything will be fine,” said Mark Smith of Save Our Siesta Sands 2, “it seems foolhardy to continue down the path and take the sand from that shoal.”
City Engineer Alex Davissshaw says dredging is necessary and increasingly urgent.
“We know that we’re getting more storms, and so providing a way to protect our shorelines both in our structures our roadways gets to be more and more important as these storms get to be more severe,” said Davisshaw.
Renourishment is also incredibly costly. In the past 10 years, millions were invested in maintaining Lido Beach, but Davisshaw says it’s a cost paid back in tourist dollars.
“It’s a necessary investment to keep Sarasota County on the list of great destinations to visit and to recreate and so it pays for itself,” said Davisshaw.
For Shoffstall, the investment is mostly sentimental, but it’s also physical. As the shoreline washes away, he worries the draw of Lido Key and the value of his property might wash away with it
“It is going to be an economic nightmare if we don’t get sand,” said Shoffstall.