Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Villa de Marco Standing Strong

Pilings are exposed, but Villa de Marco is still structurally sound according to Forge Engineering. Photo by Frank Steiger

Pilings are exposed, but Villa de Marco is still structurally sound according to Forge Engineering. Photo by Frank Steiger

Hurricane Irma inflicted various levels of damage to properties around the island. Some of that damage was minimal, while other properties saw the losses in varying degrees from damage to screen cages, tiles lost from roofs and blown out windows.

The Board of Directors at Villa de Marco West have been dealing with another issue, that being of rumors, misinformation and illusion created by a visual which is not substantiated in fact or reality.

The effects of Irma caused the popular condo association to lose approximately 150 feet of seawall during the storm and the erosion of land in front of the buildings. That erosion of the land has exposed the piling which provides for stability of the buildings, but has not affected the structural integrity of the buildings according to Matt Norton, CEO/Principal Engineer of Forge Engineering.

In a press release provided to the Coastal Breeze News by Villa de Marco West, Norton said: “We have inspected the building and determined that it is structurally sound. It is constructed on a driven concrete piling foundation that is performing as structurally designed, after a significant scouring event from Hurricane Irma. Engineering has already begun for the remediation of the land, seawall and docks.”

The complex sits alongside the Marco River and is at the mouth of Collier Creek, which runs into Collier Bay. Collier Creek and Collier Bay provide access to the Gulf of Mexico for approximately 35-40 percent of the island’s boat traffic.

Ben Farnsworth, who serves as President of the Board of Directors of the condo complex and as a member of the Marco Island Waterways Committee, has been concerned over the years regarding the shifting patterns of water flows and the narrowing of that entryway to Collier Creek. The subsequent increase in the velocity of the water flow has been a concern to the condo association and for boating safety. Those worries were made a part of the public record with Collier County over the last several years, as Farnsworth and others have pleaded their cases.

Governor Rick Scott, a resident of Naples and boater himself, visited the site one week after the event and viewed the damage with Police Chief Al Schettino, along with Condo Director Steve Swanson and Building Manager Heather Hassell. Scott told those in attendance that he too had boated in that area and was familiar with the waterways.

In his press release, Farnsworth requested that boaters adhere strictly to the No Wake area along the exposed areas of the building. This is in an effort to minimize any further erosion in the affected area which is exposed.

He also requested that the “NO TRESPASSING” signs be strictly adhered to and that any invited visitors or vendors report to the office on the second floor of “D” Building to register.

Farnsworth complimented the management team and the board for their proactive support both prior to and post Hurricane Irma, as they worked through the issues concerning the storm’s effects.

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