The ongoing wear from years of storms, waves, and high water level have made repairs to the Shoreline Protection System (SPS) increasingly urgent. The last major work was done in 1944, so improvements are substantially overdue. The Board of Directors of the Friends of PBLH in 2019 initiated a preliminary evaluation of the condition of the SPS, which resulted in a rough estimate of the cost of repairs in the $950,000 – $1 million range. A subsequent Capital Campaign raised about $1.3 million. The next step was to hire a marine engineering firm to amend the existing Historic Structures Report. Baird Engineering was chosen, and their report has been shared with relevant regulators – The State Historic Preservation Office, and the Army Corps of Engineers – in order to bring them into the process early, and to try to avoid wasting planning time and effort on a project that would not win approval.
The chosen option has been put out in a Request For Proposal from potentially interested marine engineering firms, to provide much more detail. Hydrologic studies will be needed to determine what lies under the sand, studies of the existing seawall and apron structure will inform the approach to repairs, etc. The winning firm will be chosen in August 2021, and their report is expected to take about six months.
The more detailed engineering study will provide the basis for potential marine contractors to provide pricing for the actual work. Further fundraising for the project will be based on these numbers, and some sort of public/private partnership is envisioned, with the specific split yet to be determined. The permitting process will take months, and is expected to lead to some minor adjustments to the final design. If every component in the process happens as quickly as possible, the work may commence in 2022. Given the complexity of what remains to be accomplished, 2023 is more realistic.