Intracoastal islands, boardwalk nearing completion in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The finishing touches are going in to the South Cove Natural Area along West Palm Beach's waterfront. "Great location to capture all generations," said Eric Anderson, Project Manager.

First designed and later dropped by the city of West Palm Beach, the creation of three man-made Intracoastal Waterway islands has been funded, and now, nearly completed, by Palm Beach County.

The islands and a 556 foot elevated boardwalk are almost ready for use.

"At high tide these islands are under water between a half foot and a foot under water," said Anderson. "At low tide, they're a foot and a half above water." Mangroves and other water vegetation will be planted in the area. Anderson says it should attract fish, birds and sea turtles, all while naturally purifying the water.

The waterway is a key economic component for people such as Larry Post, who owns Native Outfitters a performance apparel retail store very close to the waterfront.

The project is prompting Post to expand his business. Soon, he will begin renting paddle boards for use alongside the new islands. "It's going to connect the waterfront, physically, to Datura St., Clematis St. and the surrounding businesses," said Post.

The county, along with Florida Inland Navigation District and the Lake Worth Lagoon Partnership Program,  covered the costs for the $3.5 million project. Though there had been opposition to the project in previous years, it should be complete within a few weeks. In August, volunteers are welcomed to join in the planting of mangroves within the island area. A specific date and time for this event has not been set.

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