MILTON — The city has acquired an Environmental Resource Permit for Southern Site Development LLC to begin repairing parts of the road leading to Russell Harber Landing.
“On several sections of the road, you’ll see areas where we’ve already had to go in and put in these walls [where] the road has been collapsing,” city manager Brian Watkins said.
According to Watkins, the parts of Russell Harber Road the city had repaired are starting to collapse again. The opposite side of the road is private property; therefore, the city does not have the option to move the road over.
“We need to do something; stabilize these sections of the road, or the road is going to be in the river,” Watkins said.
The city is working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to possibly install riprap — loose stone used to form a foundation to protect from erosion. FDEP regulations allow up to 100 feet of riprap. City staffers discussed the issue with the City Council at the Jan. 18 Committee of the Whole meeting, but decisions have not yet been made about the project.
“We have a project we’ve been working [on] with Southern Site that would allow us to put a brick border in out there, so it would be like a little boardwalk,” Watkins said. “That project has been submitted with the RESTORE projects to get funding for that.”
Santa Rosa County has $4.3 million in RESTORE Act funds; the city has submitted projects to the county to apply for RESTORE dollars.
According to Santa Rosa County’s website, the RESTORE Act allocates 80 percent of the amount of any Clean Water Act fines from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Gulf Coast.
Under the act, the fines are divided into several sources of funding, with different allowable uses and a variety of methods for approving projects.
Seventy-five percent of Florida's allocation will come directly to the eight disproportionately impacted panhandle counties, including Santa Rosa County.