JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – With Thursday’s nor’easter-like conditions, organizers of Deck the Chairs are closely monitoring sculptures and decorated lifeguard chairs inside their exhibit at 1st Avenue North and 1st Street North in Jacksonville Beach.
Their concern is making sure all the decorations stay put until Jan. 2, when the exhibit closes for the year.
About 25 miles south, conditions were hitting St. Johns County beaches that were already eroded by rough weather. Officials are working to secure easements from owners of oceanfront property between Serenata Beach Club and Nease Beachfront Park that will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to restore the beaches.
“Over three quarters of the required easements in the sand placement area have been received, and now it is down to a few property owners that have not yet committed,” county officials said in a statement to News4Jax.
Patrick O’Connor, who’s visiting from Canada, spoke with News4Jax while walking along the beach Thursday afternoon.
“I am in favor of anything that enhances the environment for the people who live here and visitors,” he said. “It’s great to have access down to the beach.”
St. Johns County is also trying to get temporary easements from property owners between Nease Beachfront Park and the Inlet for a pipe to deliver sand. Once the easements are obtained, the $144 million project would deliver millions of cubic yards of sand to the beach for the next 50 years. But easements must be secured by Dec. 31 in order for the project to move forward on schedule.
“These are barrier islands; they obviously need protecting,” said Belinda Derme of Palm Coast. “The power, the power of the ocean, it draws people to it. It’s angry. It’s beautiful.”
Ocean rescue authorities are asking people to stay out of the water. Lifeguards are on duty, but towers on the beach are staffed according to current weather conditions and the number of beachgoers.