Bathtub Reef Beach expected to reopen in 2-4 weeks
6:08 PM, Mar 14, 2013
7:32 AM, Mar 15, 2013
STUART, Fla. - Nancy Kohl, a tourist from New Jersey, was disappointed to come to south Hutchison Island, and learn Bathtub Reef Beach has been closed since Hurricane Sandy hit in October.
"Now looking at it, it's nothing like it was," Kohl admitted.
Kohl visits every year, and has brought her kids to Bathtub Beach for more than a decade.
"We drove to it, my mom had heard it was closed," she said. "We just wanted to see what it looked like. You can't even get into the parking lots."
But Don Donaldson, Director of Engineering for Martin County, said tourists could soon be in luck. He expects the beach to reopen in two to four weeks, after months of closure from sand loss after fall storms.
"We're reshaping the dune right now," said Donaldson. "We'll be fixing up the parking lot, providing access for pedestrians to get down onto the beach."
Hurricane Sandy's surges closed the popular beach. Martin County was denied federal disaster aid, which delayed reopening.
The county exhausted its $25,000 emergency fund for Bathtub re-nourishment, although coastal engineers hope new legislative funding will come through.
In the meantime, Donaldson said they are aiming to beat a May 1st deadline, ahead of turtle nesting activity.
"The state has that turtle window right now," said Donaldson. "We have to be monitoring for various activities."
Kohl said it's too late for her family to experience that beach, since she is flying back to New Jersey. However, she plans to return next year, and she hopes her favorite beach will be open by then.
"It's disappointing to not be able to come out here, hang out and spend the day," said Kohl.