New Smyrna Beach CRA recommends $149,000 in repairs to Flagler Avenue Boardwalk

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(photos by Dale Smith). The Flagler Avenue Boardwalk design may change if the city commission approves removing the end structure like this one. The boardwalk has two, 35-foot-long extensions from the main structure. Removal of them would provide for better visibility. In the smaller photo, the copula has been a roosting place for pigeons over the years. Looking straight up, one can see why pigeons favor the inside.
Editor's note: The following story was submitted by contributing writer Dale Smith:

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The question of what to do with the Flagler Avenue Boardwalk became somewhat clearer Wednesday when the Community Redevelopment Agency members approved what they think is the best way to fix and preserve the structure.

The boardwalk project was one of the top priorities the CRA had on its list to accomplish in 2010-'11. CRA Executive Director Tony Otte summarized three different plans that had been submitted to city officials and to the CRA by architect David Dacar and Quentin L. Hampton, engineers, for their consideration.

Over the course of several public meetings, the public got to weigh in on their choice. Surveys were taken asking for their top option out of three choices: Repair the structure as is; demolish and remove it altogether; or modify and repair it, with exceptions. Notably, to demolish the two 35-foot long wooden sections at each end of the structure and demolish the copula.

The survey revealed the majority of the respondents favored modifying and repairing the structure. The CRA board followed suit endorsing modifying the plan with an estimated cost at $149,000, but wanted to make sure any roof tiles had to be approved before installation.

While Dacar favored a more neutral color for the tile, board member Jim Kosmas suggested a blue tile to blend with the ocean.

Vice Chairman Steve Dennis favored the modification plan saying he liked the idea of removing the end structures to more space and better views of the water from the parking lot.

New board member Chad Schilsky agreed: "The end structures don't do anything. There will be better visibility with them gone."

The boardwalk has been in disrepair for several years..

Maintenance has become a costly venture for the city because of the rusting metals and the pigeons that roost inside the copula. The metal roof has deteriorated in some areas and the approximately1,000 metal bolts holding the structure together have rusted.

The wooden structure was built at the beginning of the decade, and four years ago, a study was done by Schweizer-Waldorff and Associates, which recommended the replacement of the current structure. At that time the estimated cost was just over $1 million.

The CRA's recommendation will now go to the city commission for their consideration.

About the contributing writer:

Dale Smith is a resident of New Smyrna Beach, who has reported on local news in Volusia County since October 2009.  His writing background includes a mix of journalism and public relations in several community newspapers and a p.r. firm in northern Virginia. He attended Barton Academy in Barton, Vt., and the Cambridge (Mass.) School of Broadcasting for radio & TV broadcasting.

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