If all goes according to plan, the City of Lakeland will be dedicating a short seawall near the Lake Hollingsworth parking lot a year from now.

Curtis Porterfield, city manager of lakes and stormwater, gave an update on the proposal tonight to about 20 residents who came to a public meeting at First Presbyterian Church.

The seawall — Porterfield prefers to call it a shoreline stabilization structure — is needed to prevent further erosion along 373 feet of city-owned shoreline between the two docks east of the Lakeland Yacht and Country Club.

Artists Conception
An artists conception shows how a vinyl-covered-concrete seawall would look near the Lake Hollingsworth parking lot.

Signs of erosion include exposed tree roots, cavities along the shoreline and exposed stormwater pipes, he said. While the city has restored other parts of Lake Hollingsworth with natural vegetation, it would not stand up to the waves caused by watercraft near the boat ramp, he said.

After looking at options, city staff decided the best erosion control would be a barrier that averages two feet above water level made of a vinyl-covered reinforced concrete. The material is guaranteed for 50 years and won’t damage boats and other watercraft that might come in contact with it, he said.

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The current plan calls for three sets of stairs leading to the water to accommodate waders and people who want to fish.

Cost for the project is estimated at $215,ooo, Porterfield said. The funds are already budgeted and don’t come from the city’s general fund, he told the audience.

Design is 30 percent completed. Water management district officials have indicated support, Porterfield said, and he doesn’t anticipate difficulty with final approval. A previous plan to stabilize the bank using a boardwalk and riprap failed to pass approval from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 2008.

Next steps include structural engineering, permitting and hiring a contractor. Because of planned events at Lake Hollingsworth next spring, the city is hoping to begin construction in June and complete work in August, Porterfield said.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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