After eight years of permitting and headaches, improvements at Everest Marina are finally close to completion, and not a moment too soon for the owner.
Pete Hueber, owner of the Marina on Everest Parkway, said the $1 million expansion project, a price which included the permitting, engineering services and legal costs, should be completed this week.
Tasks include the pouring of concrete that will enable them to take the forklift to the canal, which will allow them to remove boats up to 20,000 pounds from the canal.
The marina has also built 30 dry storage racks, an opaque gate between the marina and canal and all the required water retention and pollution equipment necessary.
Among them, are expensive oil scrubbers in the ground so nothing runs off into the canal.
It was the water cleanliness system that was the key to everything getting done, Huebner said.
"We are so clean that we don't even let soapy water hit the ground, we have a special collection system that pumps the water to the city sewer," Huebner said.
When the marina opened in 1995, the marina needed just one permit from the city. Following the latest improvements, there are now 11, Huebner said.
"More government agencies got involved. Now, we have permits from the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal and state EPA and DEP, the Lee County Manatee program" Huebner said. "More regulations and a lot of it has to do with pollution."
The gate, which will be installed this week, is so the marina will remain unobtrusive to neighbors, Huebner said.
The marina also has improved the landscaping at the canal entrance, with palm trees and other plants now there.
The goal is to fill the 30 dry slips, which Hueber said they were grandfathered in for because under the current manatee protection program the marina would have only qualified for 12.
The marina began as a boat repair facility and morphed into a boat dealer. Although it was able to open as a marina in 2000, the facility could not offer water access until last summer.
Everest Marina began the permitting process for the improvements in 2006. Final approval for all of the water access and dry stack permits was obtained last summer.
Financing for the $440,000 improvement was obtained late last year.