FEMA’s beach dunes project behind schedule, limiting access to Mickler’s Landing

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — The FEMA Beach Dune Enhancement project in St. Johns County is officially behind schedule.

Crews have been adding sand to the area between Mickler’s Landing and Guana State Park. The project was supposed to be done in the Spring of 2022, but the contractor, Continental Heavy Civil, tells the county a national truck driver shortage is to blame.

Crews now have the parking lot to Mickler’s Landing Beach blocked off on weekdays. To prevent spillover on Ponte Vedra Blvd., the contract is using the parking area for large trucks and equipment working the dunes.

“It’s very disheartening that Mickler’s is closed.” Laurie Weinstein said. “At Mickler’s you don’t have to pay to park, you don’t have to cross a road to the park, and there’s a lot of parking there,” Weinstein said.

A county spokesperson says “while the project itself is delayed till October 2022, that does not mean Mickler’s will be closed till October. The plan is to re-open Mickler’s before the summer season starts.”

Weinstein says public beach access is already very limited in the area. Now, people have to park a few miles down A1A in the Guana area.

Her family prefers Mickler’s to Guana. It’s their favorite beach. “Coming down to Guana, you have to pay to park – three dollars, which you have to have exact change for – there’s not near as much parking down here, and then you have to cross a busy road. It’s not safe for children,” Weinstein said.

According to the county, Continental Heavy Civil expects to be done in October.

“We’ll still be out there looking for sharks’ teeth. No matter the weather,” Weinstein added.