ISLE OF CAPRI, FL -
Jan 1, 2021 - A project to restore water flow between Tarpon and Johnson bays flanking Isles of Capri has $70,000 more than it did one month ago.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve officials received the grant Dec. 17 through the
Gulf of Mexico Community-based Habitat Restoration Program.
The money will be used to help pay for construction of a culvert on Capri Boulevard, said Amber Castillo, a resource management coordinator at Rookery Bay
who is searching for additional grants for the Tarpon Bay Hydrologic Restoration Project.
The money goes into a project estimated to cost $4.5 million. Most of the cost includes the creation of a canoe/kayak launch, park and boardwalk at
Capri and Collier boulevards. Construction of the park is scheduled to begin in October 2004.
The culvert, tentatively slated for construction in May, will be placed near Isles of Capri Fire Department. It is a large pipe that will be installed
under the road, one of two that will restore waterflow between the bays. The culverts and a bridge on Capri Boulevard near Blue Heron Restaurant
will cost $1.2 million, part of the $4.5 million project total.
"With any luck, we'd like to start as soon as possible," Castillo said. The latest grant is good for one year. "It'll help. It's more than we had yesterday," she said.
Darrel Beck, vice president of Isles of Capri Civic Association, agreed. "As long as we have any kind of money, that means people recognize the fact that we
are still here," he said. The comment came because Beck and many other Capri residents have been waiting for work to begin since the project was
conceived in 1997 when $940,000 was awarded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That grant paid for designs and engineering studies.
Since then, the only tangible work done on Capri toward the project was a $36,000 effort to remove exotic plants along Capri Boulevard and
installation of a split rail fence to mark off Rookery Bay property.
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