Recently Published in PileDriver Magazine
by Keith Harris
Well over 15 years in the making, the Destin Harbor dream of a unified harbor boardwalk finally came true. Phase one of the project, was completed at the end of May and opens access to over a half mile of the northern edge of the Destin Harbor to public access.
The boardwalk is part of a multi-year, $90 million capital improvement program for the 400-acre Destin Harbor District that includes a public park and plaza, roadway improvements, and land acquisition as part of the initial $15-million phase. Known as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destin offers unparalleled recreational opportunities and easy access to the aqua waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Its beautiful white sand beaches, world-class fishing, and family-friendly atmosphere draw approximately 4.5 million visitors per year.
Using more than 200,000-board feet of Southern Pine and 1,080 driven wood piles, the 6 month long project is certainly impressive. Wider walkways, better lighting and the beauty of new natural wood, highlight the improvements. “All of these improvements provide for a user-friendly, relaxed atmosphere which encourages and promotes use and enjoyment by the public” Public Services Director Steve Schmidt said.
Speegle Construction Inc, the general contractor and Decks and Such Marine, was responsible for the project and driving the southern pine piling treated with CCA preservative. The 8” tip piles ranged from 20 to 40 feet in length. Early plans to reuse piling had to be changed and all new piling was driven. Special precautions had to be taken in areas where the boardwalk was in very close proximity to businesses. In these cases, instead of vibrating the piling in, which was the original plan, “they took a proposal to the CRA Board that would instead, use an auger type of system to install the piling” said David Campbell, the city’s CRA project manager.
City Planners also chose to top the substructure with real wood decking. Over 85,000 board feet of 2×6 decking was supplied by Cox Industries Inc. “While there are other options available, such as plastic-based alternatives, real wood gives builders the ‘beauty and flexibility’ they are looking for, not to mention the cost savings, as real wood can be 30 to 50 percent cheaper than its competitors”, said Haigler Bozardt of Cox . The DuraPine decking was treated with an innovative wood stabilizing solution which is free of heavy metals. Viance Chemical produces the Ecolife preservative, a wood stabilizer system that offers the natural beauty of real wood combined with advances in dimensional stability, weathering protection, fastener performance, and environmental attributes.
“As a renewable resource, by choosing Southern Pine piles and decking, as a building material, the city of Destin definitely put their hands on a “green” product. Family-owned companies farm the Southern Pine used by Cox Industries on plantations” , said Keith Harris Cox Industries, VP of Marketing.“About 1 billion Southern Pine seedlings are planted annually,” Harris said of the trees renewability. “Typically re-planting exceeds harvest by more than 30 percent each year.” Looking at the project itself, Harris said “The harbor area is a beautiful and inviting place so it’s an honor for our team to be chosen to supply the natural wood that is being used to add to the warmth of Destin”.
Given the focus on maintaining nature and protecting the environment interwoven throughout the tapestry of Destin, it’s no surprise that real wood was chosen to complete the boardwalk project. The city’s focus on and awareness of natural-made products and their cumulative effect on the environment dovetailed perfectly with natural wood.
The project, according to Harris, would not have happened or even been possible without the great working relationship between Cox, Hodges Brothers Lumber, and the city of Destin, as well as with contractor Speegle Construction, who subcontracts to Decks and Such Marine.
The project ties together much collaboration including seven property owners and nine different properties. “We are thrilled to see this project come to fruition,” said Community Redevelopment Agency Board Chair Sandy Trammell. “This boardwalk gives us the continuity and marketability that we have always needed along our harbor, and our businesses, residents and tourists will be able to enjoy it for years to come.”
For more information visit coxwood.com