By John Mullen
In 2017 Gulf Shores used an Alabama Coastal Area Management Program grant to help fund improvements to Little Lagoon Park including adding an ADA accessible fishing pier.
Environmental and Grants Coordinator Dan Bond is turning to ACAMP again to further enhancements at the park located at the pass including walking path and boardwalk connections to neighborhoods to the east.
“These additional improvements will include the extension of the asphalt pedestrian trail to West Lagoon Avenue, construction of a new 500-foot-by-eight-foot elevated wetland boardwalk connecting to Sandpiper Lane,” Bond’s report to the council said. “There will be a 30-by-15 overlook along the boardwalk, and additional signage and landscaping. These improvements will greatly enhance public access, and make the park a key component of the surrounding community.”
The project is expected to cost just under $300,000 helped by a $50,000 ACAMP the city is going after. It requires a one-to-one match easily met by the remaining costs of the project.
“Design costs of $23,727.00 have been budgeted in 2019 as part of the Little Lagoon Park Improvements Project,” Bond said in his report. “Construction costs of $272,868 will need to be budgeted in fiscal year 2020, $50,000 of which will be funded through ACAMP and booked as a reimbursable expense.”
According to OutdoorAlabama.com, “ACAMP’s annual grant program supports projects that protect, enhance, and improve the management of natural, cultural, and historical coastal resources and that increase the sustainability, resiliency and preparedness of coastal communities and economies.”
Since the fishing pier opened on Feb. 1, Bond says it has seen a steady flow of fishermen and sightseers.
“We designed it to reach relatively deeper water where some actual good fishing could be,” Bond said. “There’s a sandbank that runs out fairly far there. Since it has opened its been used every day as more and more people find out about it. It opens up the fishing at the pass to a whole new group of people who couldn’t use it before.”
The new phase will give access to vacation rental properties and full-time residents who live in the West Lagoon Avenue and Sandpiper Lane areas.
“It’s very heavily used and there are new walking paths for people to access the beach on the pass as well as the beach on the Gulf front,” Bond said. “The bike and pedestrian path were constructed along an existing right of way that follows along the curve of the lagoon to the north of the new cottages that were built there. It’s a great connection out from that parking lot to the fishing pier out to the east.
“It’s a neat little project that’s going to have a big impact on the surrounding area and provide an amenity and access point for people who are staying there or live in that area.”
Mayor Robert Craft said people in those neighborhoods will have access to the beach through Little Lagoon Park.
“It’s really good that we can get people from that area to the beach without having to cross the road,” Craft said. “That pathway will get you down underneath the bridge and out to the beach a lot safer.”
• Passed an update the city’s current flood damage prevention ordinance to meet the National Flood Insurance Program’s requirements in addition to enforcing the new April 2019 FEMA FIRM maps. The new maps are going to be effective April 19 and with the effective date of these maps, a new ordinance is required for each jurisdiction to remain compliant with the NFIP.
• Accepted a $1 million reimbursement from the Alabama Department of Transportation for city-managed traffic signal upgrades at County Road 6 and Alabama 59 and along Alabama 182 or beach road.
• OK’d a request from A Cab for a taxi franchise to operate in the city.
• Passed a resolution to authorize the sign an agreement with RiverTree Systems, to provide tax auditing services. The current three-year contract expires on April 24. There is no cost for the service, unless revenue owed to the city is discovered during an audit. Then fee is then an hourly rate of $75. During the existing three-year contract, the net revenue provided by RiverTree was $72,000.
• Amended wireless telecommunications ordinances to add provisions for small cell facilities and update the regulations for cell towers and equipment placed on cell towers to reflect existing practices, procedures and laws.
• Authorized the Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs to begin pursuing contracts with musical acts for the 2020 Winter Entertainment Series.
• OK’d A public assembly permit for Bike MS: Tour de Beach on Sept. 21-22 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The event will be headquartered at the Orange Beach Event Center but part of the bike route goes through Gulf Shores.