Around the State- Central- Oct. 2001
The second phase of a massive beach restoration project is about to begin in Brevard.
By Ken Ibold
Backhoes and bulldozers are about to fire up again along Brevard County's beaches, starting the second stage of a massive beach restoration aimed at addressing a problem created 50 years ago.
Work on the last 3.4 miles of the Brevard County Shore Protection Project is scheduled to begin next month and follows a 9.4-mile stretch completed just before the start of sea turtle nesting season last spring. When completed, the $43-million restoration will mark the beginning of a 50-year plan to keep Brevard's beaches wide.
The federal government is paying the bulk of the $20-million cost of the second phase, with the remainder split between the state and the county.
The beach problems began in 1951, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began building an entrance channel into Port Canaveral. The channel, which was enlarged in 1965, disrupts the natural flow of sand. The result is that about 16 million cubic yards of sand didn't make its way south of the inlet in the last 40 years. During that time, the beach had been restored only once, amounting to 4 million cubic yards.
More than 300 beach property owners sued the Corps in 1992. Erosion had eaten away 400 feet of beach in some areas. After seven years in court, the Corps agreed to restore the beach and renourish it about every six years for 50 years -- a $138-million commitment. The first phase of the restoration began at the port and continued south to Patrick Air Force Base. The second phase runs from Indialantic to Spessard Holland Park south of Melbourne.
Without the restoration, the county faced losing 30% of its tourism jobs, including 8,000 to 10,000 beachside jobs, and $557 million in property values in the coastal communities.
"This settlement took a long time because it was a political as well as a legal solution," says Mason Williams, an attorney with Gray Harris & Robinson, which represented the property owners. "We wish it hadn't taken so long, but if you go look at it, you'll see it's made quite a remarkable difference."
In the News
Cape Canaveral -- Boeing Co. plans to move 1,100 aerospace jobs out of Southern California, splitting them between Cape Canaveral and Houston. At least 400 jobs will move to the Cape. Most of the workers will be involved in engineering support for the international space station and the space shuttle. The transfers are to be complete by Nov. 1. Separately, Boeing laid off 85 space workers and eliminated about 80 vacant positions in a streamlining caused by slowing work on the space station.
Melbourne -- Harris Corp. has sold its newspaper publishing software business for an undisclosed price to North Carolina-based MediaSpan. About 30 employees of Harris Publishing Systems were laid off. Harris, which started as a printing-related business, will focus on communications.
Orlando -- Venture capitalist Ned Grace is attempting to raise $20 million to $50 million to create a hospitality venture fund that specifically targets new hotel and restaurant concepts. Grace sold his restaurant chains -- Bugaboo Creek and Capital Grille -- five years ago for $62 million and launched a high-tech venture fund.
World Commerce Online Inc. (OTCBB-WCOL), a provider of web-based software to perishable products companies, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
SeaWorld has started selling tickets over the internet at www.seaworldorlando.com, allowing visitors to avoid lines at the park's entrance. Online tickets are purchased with credit cards.
J.T. Lin, founder of laser manufacturer SurgiLight Inc. (OTCBB-SRGL), resigned as president and CEO to become director of business and technology development. The company says the move was voluntary as SurgiLight shifts from a research company to a manufacturer ["Eye Wars"]. Poor financial results also led the company to lay off 53 people -- more than 30% of its workforce.
Planet Hollywood International (OTCBB-PHWD) plans to move 85 headquarters employees out of its flagship south Orlando building and into a warehouse where the company also stores memorabilia. Planet Hollywood sold the south Orlando building two years ago but occupied the top floor. Planet Hollywood also made a deal with XO Communications to network all 28 restaurant locations for $1 million a year -- $500,000 less than the company had been paying for telecommunications services.
Orlando Sentinel Communications and parent company Tribune Co. were turned back by an Illinois judge in a lawsuit attempting to get the newspaper's insurance companies to pay for cleaning up polluted groundwater at the Orlando newspaper site. The Sentinel was cited in 1994 as the likely source of a downtown chemical leak. The newspaper declined to say if it will appeal the ruling.
Buffalo Trading Co. shuttered its Church Street Station store after nearly 20 years of selling western wear to downtown tourists. The company recently opened another store at the Florida Mall and plans a larger outlet on International Drive.
The Catholic Diocese of Orlando is buying most of the landmark U.S. Post Office Building in downtown Orlando and will share it with the Postal Service. The new space will house support staff -- now spread among several locations -- and Bishop Norbert Dorsey's office. St. James Catholic Cathedral owned the property until the Great Depression, when it had to sell the land to keep the parish afloat.
Cirent Semiconductor is laying off another 100 workers, bringing employment to 30% below 2000 year-end levels. The company's recent layoffs have thrown into question the state and local financial incentives Cirent has been receiving.
A month after reorganizing its marketing department and laying off 20 people, Universal Orlando cut 24 more jobs after revamping its human resources, finance and entertainment departments.
A federal judge ruled that Walt Disney Co. does not have to make changes to its cruise ships to accommodate passengers in wheelchairs. A lawsuit brought by Access Now Inc., a Miami non-profit organization, sought to have the cruise ships equipped with more handicapped-accessible bathrooms, lower water fountains and mechanical lifts for wheelchair passengers. The judge dismissed the case on a technicality.
Epik Communications Inc. has completed its southeastern fiber-optic networks, activating the last leg of the 1,850-mile network. The company sells access to telecommunications retailers.
Triton Network Systems (Nasdaq-TNSI), which makes high-speed wireless communications systems, plans to liquidate its assets and distribute proceeds to stockholders. The company estimates it will
distribute 75 to 95 cents a share to stock owners after the liquidation. Shareholders will vote on the plan this month.
Service Master Co.'s Terminix business unit is buying Orlando-based Sears Termite & Pest Control Inc., a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Viera -- Home builders in Brevard County will be paying 27.5% more in transportation impact fees starting Sept. 30. County commissioners voted to raise the fee that builders have to pay per single-family house from $855 to $1,197.