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Collier County beach restoration affecting visitors

More than 200 truckloads of sand moved daily
Vanderbilt Beach renourish
Vanderbilt Beach renourishment
Posted at 7:28 PM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 19:28:54-05

NAPLES, Fla. — Collier County is dumping millions of pounds of sand to save its beaches that draw in more than a million visitors a year. However, those same visitors can get upset when dealing with the rumble of dump trucks going up and down the beach.

Dump trucks are moving from sunrise to sunset at Vanderbilt Beach in North Naples. Collier County officials say almost 300 truckloads of sand are delivered and dispersed here each day.

It’s all part of the county’s $7.6 million beach renourishment project. And while the project is necessary to replace a shoreline that washes away over time, the roaring of dump trucks and smell of diesel gas can disrupt a day at the beach.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Naples resident Cole Henry said, “but if I was paying for a week’s vacation and this was smack dab middle of what I was doing I’d probably be a little upset.”

This is the second part of the county’s renourishment project. Last month 86,000 tons of sand was laid down between Lowdermilk Park and Naples Pier. Now 118,000 thousand tons will be dumped across a 1.3-mile stretch on Vanderbilt Beach.

On Tuesday, several people at Vanderbilt Beach said they didn’t enjoy the sound of dump trucks, but they understood why this project is necessary.

“It’s a pain while they’re doing it, but the beach it was draws people to Naples a big part of it,” said Paul Smith, a Naples resident. “You’ve got to put up this few weeks, then enjoy it all season and years to come.”

And county leaders say there are environmental reasons for the beach renourishment as well.

“The reality is, we do get a major hurricane here in Collier County every 10 year on average,” said Andy Miller, the county’s coastal zone manager who is in charge of the beach renourishment. “If we don’t have sand here, these buildings are going to take the brunt of that force.

“The sand is here to protect but also provides a nice place to come on a sunny day like today.”

The project is paid for by Collier County’s tourism tax on hotel rooms. Miller said about 42 percent of the price is for reimbursement from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.