Key Biscayne beach

Spencer Crowley of the Akerman Law Firm gave the Village Council an update at their August 27 meeting on the continued fight to qualify for Federal beach re-nourishment funds.

Village fighting for beach re-nourishment

Crowley explained that the Federal grant program consisted of two parts- a study by the Army Corp of Engineers and then an implementation plan. “The village was initially screened out of the study because of a lack of beach access and parking,” said Crowley. “If you aren’t in the study, you can’t get the funding.”

Crowley suggested the access issue had been overcome through the opening of additional beach access points and the Freebee and bus system on Crandon Boulevard.

However, another obstacle arose because the Army Corp said that they had only been funded $2 million of the $3 million necessary to complete the study. As a result, Crowley said the Army Corp concluded that Key Biscayne, as well as beaches on the northern end of the county from Haulover Beach north to Sunny Isles, would not be included in the study.

Councilmember Katie Petros asked if it was possible for the Village to do the study on their own.

Crowley said that he felt the best path forward was working with the County and Federal representatives to attempt to address the funding shortfall now that the Key met the study requirements.

“Mayor Gimenez' support of these efforts is absolutely essential and we are really very appreciative that he is partnering with Mayor Davey in urging the Corps to fully fund the feasibility study,” said Crowley.

The council also discussed sending a small delegation to Washington, DC to work with the South Florida congressional delegation to secure the funding.

“There are good people there (at the Army Corps), really good people, who are working hard to do the right thing,” said Crowley dismissing the idea they may be purposely excluding Key Biscayne.

“But they have to work within a system that doesn't always make sense to outsiders, and may not always give you the results you want when you want them. My experience though is that if you keep at it and show that you are willing to be a good partner on good projects, you will end up in the right place.”