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Boardwalk south of Jaycee Park getting overhaul

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of April 1, 2021)

The Conn Beach boardwalk just south of Jaycee Park is getting a major overhaul and will be closed one portion at a time from now through mid-June.

This stretch of boardwalk, always popular, has become more popular than ever this past year as walkers sought safe, outdoor and socially distanced avenues for exercise and a change of scenery during the pandemic.

It is “one of the most heavily used recreation facilities in the area,” said Vero Beach City Manager Monte Falls.

The 1,460-linear-foot renovation will extend from the southernmost end – the part already closed and under repair – to the flagpole near Jaycee Park.

“The whole boardwalk will not be closed at once,” said Assistant Public Works Director Richard Mutterback on Monday. “It is the goal of the project to maintain as much access to the boardwalk for the public as possible throughout the project.

“As one section is nearing completion, they will start on removal of the decking from the next similar section [between access points], and they will continue in this manner as they progress north.”

The $396,000 job to install new decking, handrails, benches, and street-side stairs made of a composite material designed to endure the elements better than wood, was approved in November.

The boardwalk was constructed in 1984, and wear and tear and storm damage have been repaired piecemeal over the decades, but the current project is the most complete overhaul in 37 years.

This is the first part of a two-phase boardwalk refurbishment. The second phase has not been scheduled and is dependent upon money being in the budget. It will include replacing the stairs that lead down from the boardwalk to the beach, according to Mutterback.

Crews will be inspecting the structure of the boardwalk and reporting back to city officials so any needed structural repairs can be made while the boardwalk sections are closed for refurbishment.

“The $396,375 contract includes a contingency amount of $30,000 for reinforcement or replacement of structural members if needed once inspected by the project engineer and City,” Mutterback said.

The work is being done by the low bidder, Miami Lakes-based Tadeos Engineering LLC, which came highly recommended to the city from work completed in Dade County.

Besides being low bidder, Tadeos said it could get the job done in 90 days, by June 14, reducing closure time compared to other bidders who projected 120 days or more of work – which would have run deeper into hurricane and summer beach-going season.