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Front Page » Top Stories » Dinner Key Marina far from recovered from Hurricane Irma

Dinner Key Marina far from recovered from Hurricane Irma

Written by on February 5, 2019
Dinner Key Marina far from recovered from Hurricane Irma

More than 16 months after Hurricane Irma tore up Dinner Key Marina, the City of Miami owned and operated facility in Coconut Grove remains far from its former glory.

It is a slow process, but a major capital improvement project is poised to restore and rebuild the marina in the heart of the Grove.

Currently, city officials are unable to discuss details of the restoration plan as they evaluate proposals sought in a formal request for proposals issued last fall with a deadline of Nov. 29.

The Dinner Key Marina Repairs and Restoration Project is currently under “cone of silence” rules for procurement and city officials aren’t allowed to provide any details regarding planned construction.

A review of the November request for proposals offers a few insights.

Maria Busto, interim marinas manager at Dinner Key Marina, was able to answer a couple of questions regarding current use of the marina and the adjacent mooring facility.

“I can tell you that we currently have about 335 slips occupied, and 77 moorings occupied as well,” Ms. Busto said in an email to Miami Today.

Before Hurricane Irma, Dinner Key Marina was the largest wet slip marine facility in Florida.

One year ago, Daniel Rotenberg, director of the city’s Department of Real Estate and Asset Management, reported that approximately 60% of the dockage was destroyed in the powerful storm of Sept. 10, 2017.

“We have no detailed information for the vessels themselves, as the owners of the vessels at the marina are not required to provide the damage they incurred,” he said then.

Asked for a comparison of occupied slips at Dinner Key Marina, Mr. Rotenberg had said in January 2017 there were about 580 vessels docked at the marina, and about 250 vessels in January 2018.

At the adjacent Dinner Key Mooring Facility, just offshore at the end of Southwest 27th Avenue, approximately 110 vessels were kept there in January 2017, compared with about 80 one year later, according to Mr. Rotenberg.

The scope of services in the request for proposals begins: “The City is seeking to procure a qualified and experienced Design-Builder to restore and/or replace the docks and utilities that were damaged at Dinner Key Marina by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.”

The overall project goal is to efficiently return the marina to operating conditions with the restoration and/or replacement of the following major components: 1) fixed concrete and timber dock structures, 2) fire protection system, 3) shore power, 4) lighting, 5) sewage pump-out, 6) domestic water and 7) communication/security system.

The proposal request includes background information on Dinner Key Marina, at 3400 Pan American Drive.

The marina generally consists of nine piers constructed of fixed concrete docks with approximately 582 wet slips.

“The area along Coconut Grove in Biscayne Bay has a long history of waterfront use beginning with the Naval Air Station in 1918, and with the Pan American Seaplane Terminal from 1932 to 1945. The original terminal building is still utilized as City Hall,” the document reads.

The original marina constructed in the 1950s generally consisted of three main docks extending from the old seaplane terminal. The current marina facilities were constructed in the late 1980s, likely 1986.

Other hurricanes have impacted the marina.

Dinner Key was extensively damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The marina was repaired/restored after that hurricane, and most of the shore power pedestals and electrical system were replaced.

The marina was again damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

The eastern end of Pier 3 was reconstructed along with the gates/lock systems at the entrance of each pier. In addition, the original timber decking (covering the utility chase) was replaced with fiberglass grating in 2006 time frame.

Additional improvements have been completed at the marina including maintenance dredging and more recently the sewage pump-out system was replaced.

Hurricane Irma was the strongest observed hurricane in the Atlantic in terms of maximum sustained winds, and it was the most intense hurricane to strike the continental US since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the document says.

After causing extensive damage throughout the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm, Hurricane Irma impacted the Florida Keys at Cudjoe Key on Sept. 10, 2017. The hurricane again made landfall in southwest Florida in the Naples area.

A peak storm surge hit Dinner Key at 9:51 p.m. Sept. 10. The hurricane submerged the docks and portions of the adjacent waterfront, subjecting the area to waves along with the high winds and heavy rainfall.

“The fixed main piers along with the timber finger docks were extensively damaged along with the marina utilities,” the request for proposals reads.

4 Responses to Dinner Key Marina far from recovered from Hurricane Irma

  1. dean

    February 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    This article fails to mention that starting this month, the city raised the rates for the remaining tenants at the marina by 21% while maintaining substandard services due to the still unrepaired damage from a storm that occurred 15 months ago. Bids have still not been selected yet and it is clear that the marina will not be repaired for another 2 years. Even before the rent increase, the marina charged substantially more than comparable County marinas like Crandon.

    Soon, only wealthy people will have access to Biscayne Bay even though everyone pays through their federal and state taxes to maintain and protect our coastal waters.

    • No One

      February 8, 2019 at 5:49 pm

      I cannot agree more with you dean! The greed of city hall is grotesquely on display during discussions of the Coconut Grove waterfront. While the population of the city grows, public access to parks and access to Biscayne Bay is curtailed. It’s already almost prohibitively expensive for local residents to sail or fish or enjoy our own Biscayne Bay right in our backyard.

      But this is a democracy afterall. Write your representatives! Make your voice heard!!

  2. Kim

    February 23, 2019 at 9:47 am

    At a meeting with Dinner Key tenants and Commissioner Ken Russell with Mr. Rotenberg in attendance it was stated that the reason for the delay is that the City of Miami was grossly under insured, with only ten million in coverage to the totality of all City marinas and parks. Also, the rate increase was rammed through because Noriega’s Parking Authority wanted a rate increase and its passage was requested to be included as a package with the marina rate increase. This is a maasive failure and disservice to all stake holder Miami citizens. Why are the same managers allowed to keep their jobs? It is a total disgrace. The City needs to get out of the marina business and let a professional marina management company take over.

  3. Terry Fruth

    April 12, 2019 at 11:01 am

    I have had a boat at DKM for about 20 years. A few years ago bond funds and grants financed Regatta Park, roads, a new dock master office and other improvements. Work has stopped on the restoration without explanation. There has been talk of insurance company imposed delays, , but the Marina was uninsured. Why? The only explanation that makes sense is that there is a plan to sell the marina to a group from Miami Beach that has proposed to buy another troubled .city Marina. The plan is to convert DKM to a luxury yacht facility which would please the super wealthy that face a facility shortage. Once DKM is deteriorated beyond redemption, a proposal to relieve the City of the mess will be made and the voters will be asked whether they would rather write a big check or receive a big check,

    This is bad policy and bad law. The City is obliged to protect the collateral and the bond and grant documents obligate the City to keep the facility in good repair. Miami has been brought to court before, twice by the SEC, I believe, for misuse of bond proceeds. What about the reserve funds? There is FEMa money available but the City has walked from it. Privatization is often a legitimate alternative but for an almost new facility?