Ormond Beach’s Cassen Park is already a destination for fishermen, boaters, picnickers and residents just looking to take a stroll on the pier overlooking the Halifax River.
Soon boaters may no longer have to compete for a slip at the picturesque park adjacent to the Granada Bridge and across Beach Street from the Ormond Beach Regional Library.
The construction of a floating dock, with 12 boat slips and a 390-foot long breakwater rock barrier are almost complete, which will allow for the completion of the final stage of the project – dredging for an access channel to the Intracoastal Waterway and a boat basin for the new dock.
The added access will allow more area residents and tourists alike to dock their boats and dine or shop downtown.
“We hope it will bring people to the downtown area,” City Spokeswoman Jenn Elston said. “We’re really happy to provide that access to the water.”
City Engineer Shawn Finley stated in an email that Ormond Beach MainStreet, a non-profit organization, proposed the project about five years ago “after visiting communities and seeing the value of boat access to a vibrant downtown.”
The City Commission included the project in the city’s Capital Improvement Program for design and construction and awarded the contract to Brance Diversified of Jacksonville last January.
The notice to proceed was issued in June with a duration of 330 days. Mr. Finley said “the contractor is completing the project approximately 2.5 months ahead of schedule.”
At the Feb. 4 City Commission meeting, Deputy Mayor Troy Kent praised Ike Leary, proprietor of the Granada Pier Bait & Tackle shop on the park property, for his patience during the construction.
“Sir, thank you for your patience and thank you for your partnership. Many in the community appreciate what we have over there and what you do as well. And there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s going to be back better than it has ever been before,” Deputy Mayor Kent said.
One of the two permanent boat launches at the park has been closed during construction, which affected boat traffic to the park, said Doug Davis, an employee at the bait shop.
“Business was down a little bit, but fishermen always find us for bait,” Mr. Davis said. “It’s affecting boaters more than anything. This little park gets a lot of use. (The construction) is creating congestion on the weekends.”
But he said the end result will be worth it.
“This is a massive upgrade,” Mr. Davis said.