Recently Completed Intracoastal Waterway Dredging Benefits Environment and Commerce for West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Waterfronts in Florida

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Through a unique public/private partnership, the waterway is the finishing touch in West Palm Beach ’s $30 million downtown waterfront redevelopment. The dredging enables larger yachts to visit the Palm Beach areas and will have a positive economic impact as well as a positive environmental impact as the dredgings will be used to create additional shallow water habitats.

The dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway, increasing its depth to 10 feet mean low water (MLW), has opened up a new gateway for larger yachts and commercial vessels to access the commercial and private waterfronts of Palm Beach and the redeveloped downtown West Pam Beach.

In addition to boosting the appeal of this area to a broader yachting community, both nationally and internationally, the 10,000-12,000 cubic yards of dredged materials will help create critical shallow water habitat important to local fisheries, wading and shorebirds, manatees and sea turtles in the South Cove estuary. [South cove will also feature a 556-foot-long elevated boardwalk for walking, jogging or fishing, an observation deck and educational kiosk for public events.]

Through a unique public/private partnership, the waterway is the finishing touch in West Palm Beach ’s $30 million downtown waterfront redevelopment. There are very few places in the world where larger yachts can dock within walking distance of a vibrant downtown community. Palm Beach and West Palm Beach feature a broad range of entertainment: live music, colorful boutiques, trendy nightclubs, restaurants, sidewalk cafes, shops, historical landmarks, a 20-screen theater, open-air plaza, cultural arts theater and residential areas in a lush tropical setting.

“The positive economic impact of being able to accommodate a broader range of the yachting community is tremendous,” said Cheryl Chase principal of Chase Enterprises, owners of Palm Harbor Marina. A study, conducted by Thomas J. Murray & Associates on behalf of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, found that nearly 1,500 megayachts cruised into Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties in 2006. On average, each vessel created nearly $500,000 in economic impact among boatyard expenses, brokerage commissions and charter fees, as well as area entertainment and restaurants. With $750 million generated by a relatively small number of yachts and even with the impact of our current diminished economy, that is financially significant, explained Chase.

“We shared the vision of Mayor Frankel to be a part of creating a waterfront that will help stimulate our entire community. Palm Harbor Marina is only phase-one of our long-term vision to complete the transformation of our area to the ultimate yachting destination,” added Arnold Chase, principal of Chase Enterprises, owners of Palm Harbor Marina.

Owners and captains of yachts with a draft of more than eight feet have welcomed the news. ”As a captain of a yacht in excess of 150 feet, safety is of utmost concern in planning marina and port visits. Having a low spot in a waterway definitely deters larger yachts since they would risk damaging the running gear or running aground. We’re very excited that we are able to dock in West Palm and the Palm Beach areas since it offers all the top level entertainment and luxury amenities our owners, passengers and crew desire," explained Mega Yacht Kathryn Captain Chris Ramos.

Palm Harbor Marina, located along the Intracoastal Waterway, is already seeing a positive impact and is booking more large vessels at the full service marina. “Large yacht owners and crew enjoy the excitement of the new downtown developments and being able to walk to it from their slip. There aren’t many ports that have such great amenities and attractions close by,” added Palm Harbor Marina Manager John Smundin.

Additional information: http://www.co.palm-beach.fl.us/erm/lakes/estuarine/south-cove.htm For more information on Palm Harbor Marina visit http://www.palmharbor-marina.com.

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John Smundin Marina Manager

Phil Metz
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