Glades County will push to finish Moonshine Park

MOORE HAVEN — Glades County commissioners will continue to press for more state financing for the ambitious Moonshine Marsh Overlook Park plan, part of the Moore Haven Canal project undertaken with state and federal partners.

The project was discussed at the commissioners’ meeting Aug. 26 briefly as it is on the legislative priority list they were considering for the upcoming delegation meeting that’s just a few weeks away.

Commissioner John Ahern said in an interview Thursday, Aug. 29: “We have it on the legislative list, and we had Congressman (Greg) Steube over (recently). He was here, and his aides; we had Sen. (Marco) Rubio’s aides, Congressman (Brian) Mast’s aides … We showed them the canal and the project. We’re looking for federal money, state money; wherever we can find it, we’re looking at all our options on that to continue that project.”

Dredging has been completed on approximately three-quarters of a mile of the project, just north of the Moore Haven Lock on Lake Okeechobee. “There are still over 6 miles to go if we try to dig the channel that goes across to Lakeport, to Harney Pond, but we’re not sure exactly on how that’s going to go. But it’s all been engineered, and the dredging, that work, and then the walk … once you get across the Rim Canal, and there’s bridges and stuff on the cuts that go into Moonshine Bay,” Mr. Ahern said.

Although there is no walkway per se yet, and no amenities have been completed in that area, visitors are able to walk on the embankment alongside the dredged portion of the canal.

“There’s a lot of improvements, a lot of fill work needs to be done and everything, to put it to where you could actually walk out on it. That’s the project to go all the way to the Monkey Box. It’s going to be quite a project to do that. We’re going to need some big number, like $10 million to $14 million,” he said.

Arbor Tree and Land was selected to be the contractor for the Moore Haven Canal/Moonshine Marsh Overlook Park project back in December 2015. Nearly 70,000 cubic yards of sediment and a berm were removed to the opposite side of the canal.

Also at the Monday night meeting, the county board:
• Received from Lisa Sands, Hendry-Glades United Way coordinator, the Campaign Award for their and county employees’ fundraising efforts during the 2018-19 campaign.
• Voted to purchase a new generator for the Ortona Community Center. A grant was received to put in the transfer switch and pad for the building used by the Ortona Community Association, the staff report said. An older generator the county had from the old Health Department and planned to put in Ortona, however, was going to cost over $15,000 to repair, not including the cover over it. Staff asked four companies for quotes on a new generator and received only one back, from Taylor Electric and Air Conditioning in the amount of $22,800. The generator from the old Health Department is a 30-kilowatt and the quoted generator was a 45KW. But Deputy County Manager Bob Jones said he had found a 30KW one for sale online for several thousand dollars less, including a 134-gallon tank for 96-hour continuous operation at 50% power, and the board authorized him to proceed.
• Was told that the Glades County Health Department contacted county staff asking to have their building pressure-washed. Staff looked into the matter and received two quotes from private companies because they thought the county would have to borrow trucks with buckets to do the work. Public Works Director Archie Branch said, however, the department does have a bucket truck and would be able to do the work themselves. Ms. Whidden had sought quotes and received a couple, getting prices for both a two-day cleaning at the newer Glades County Health Care Facility and pressure washing at the Glades County Regional Training Facility, the old health care building, the courthouse at 500 Ave. J, the Doyle Conner Building and inside and outside the bathrooms at the Alvin Ward Boat Ramp and Harney Pond. Mr. Branch agreed to do all of those, prioritizing the Health Department request.

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