After more than six years of planning and permitting, the Intracoastal Waterway deepening project, which should unlock the true economic potential of businesses along Riviera Beach’s waterfront, has been approved by the federal government.
This was announced yesterday by the U.S Rep. Lois Frankel, D- West Palm Beach in a joint press conference with officials from the City of Riviera Beach, mega-yacht refit and repair facility Rybovich and the Florida Inland Navigation District.
Frankel welcomed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decision to issue all permits necessary to dredge about 3,500 linear feet of the Intracoastal Waterway. Dredging will happen in the channel west of Peanut Island from the area near the Port of Palm Beach to Rybovich’s Marine Center at 2010 Ave. B in Riviera Beach just south of the Blue Heron Boulevard Bridge.
“This is a transformational game changer in Riviera Beach that comes with new jobs and huge economic impact in South Florida,” Frankel said.
Riviera Beach Councilwoman Dawn Pardo, who has been working on getting the project approved for six years, said the dredging will allow Rybovich to bring in bigger yachts and more of them for service and refitting. It will also allow nearby defense contractor Lockheed Martin to bring larger U.S. Navy vessels into its facility directly for work. Currently those vessels can only be taken to the Port of Palm Beach for service.
“This will open the door for more jobs for Riviera Beach residents and related businesses, as well as a multi-million dollar boost to our economy in general,” Pardo said. “Coupled with the redevelopment of our marina, this dredging will completely reshape the future of business along the water in Riviera Beach.”
Rybovich Chief Executive Officer Wayne Huizenga Jr. explained that his business, which is a world leader in servicing and refitting yachts, has been severely limited in the size of vessel they could get into their Riviera Beach facility because of the shallow depths of the Intracoastal leading to his facility. The dredging will facilitate a planned expansion of the Riviera Beach yard that will allow Rybovich to service larger yachts up to 330 feet.
The Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) will oversee the dredging. Contractors working for FIND will remove about 95,000 cubic yard of dredge material to lower the bottom of the channel to about 15 feet below the mean low water line, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits issued on Friday.
Contractors will use erosion controls and floating turbidity barriers to preserve the environment and all of the dredged material will be deposited at FIND’s existing Peanut Island Dredge Materials Management Area. FIND Executive Director Mark Crosley said he hoped to have the dredging done within a year.