Gumbo Limbo tower rebuild rebounds

Gumbo Limbo’s long-delayed, 40-foot observation tower project is back on track.

The nature center’s still closed. But the boardwalk is open and materials remain stacked there from a 2019 rebuild that never happened.

Americans With Disabilities Act compliance halted construction. Then the center’s Friends and the family who raised most of the money had to determine what would meet ADA requirements, a funicular or a ramp.

The project will now come in at $1.2 million, according to the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District that oversees the center on A1A.

A fourth understanding between the district and Friends of Gumbo Limbo asks for a Dec. 31 start date. “The District has committed $600,000 towards the installation of an ADA-complaint ramp or funicular at the public observation tower at Gumbo Limbo. In honor of Jacob Kosowsky and the Kosowsky family, the Friends have raised and committed $500,000…In an effort to ensure completion of the tower, the Friends shall commit an additional $100,000 funding upon the presentation of the final design plans for the tower,” the new approved agreement says.

The first agreement was passed July 2019. A second extended the agreement to April 2020. A third “provided for an allocation of costs and extending the construction commencement date to Feb. 2021.”

Friends president Jim Miller said they’re raising the additional donations online for Jacob’s Outlook at https://www.gumbolimbo.org/bring-back-the-tower

He anticipates the city project will have a design package and cost estimates by June or July and put it out to bid by Dec. 31. “The city has set a target date for the first quarter of 2022,” for completion, he said. The city is working with Applied Technology & Management, ATM, the city confirmed.

Miller remembers hearing about wedding proposals there. “That fits with the story of Gumbo Limbo,” he said. “The observation tower is a great point to look over to the ocean, the beach and the Intracoastal environment we’re working so hard to preserve.”

By Marci Shatzman

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