MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s been a problem in Johns Pass for years: sand.
On Wednesday, Madeira Beach city leaders received funding to address the issue.
State Rep. Linda Chaney presented a check to the city for $1,556,000 to fully pay for the dredging of Johns Pass.
Chaney says she worked on it for two years.
“This is a real economic driver for all of the beaches and Pinellas County, so it was really important,” Chaney said. “I was told, not even try that dredge projects really don’t get through the state process, so don’t even try. And I decided you get 100% of what you don’t ask for.”
For years, city leaders, business owners and others have tried to address the sand problem in Johns Pass. It created a number of problems from boat access for businesses, drainage and ecological, but the biggest problem and concern is safety.
“It goes from dry land to a very short spit of beach and it drops off to almost 30 feet in a very short amount of time,” Captain Dylan Hubbard said, owner of Hubbard’s Marina. “I have countless, countless images, video and stories of saving little children, parents, grandparents alike who were going to drown and pass away.”
The accumulation of sand directly impacts Captain Dylan Hubbard’s business.
“We’re the only really wall holding the sand back. If we were to leave or be forced to move and be overtaken by the sand, it would move down the boardwalk and shut multiple businesses down,” Hubbard said. “We have to fight this every day, every week holding the sand back.”
The hope now is they won’t have to worry about that or any of these concerns moving forward.
“Finally, we’re gaining some traction and gaining a positive way forward,” Hubbard said. “Dredging this problem is going to solve those issues of access, safety, ecological concerns and drainage, and it’ll save it for the short term and hopefully that’ll give us time to work on long-term goals.”
Hubbard says his goal is to get the north jetty of Johns Pass lengthened to preserve the pass and increase the size of Madeira Beach, increase safety, improve the ecological situation and provide an estuary for breeding fish in the summer.