Florida Keys

Two years after Irma, popular Florida Keys beach reopening

One of the many prized Florida Keys sites that was a casualty to Hurricane Irma is Anne’s Beach, a popular swimming, picnicking and kite surfing spot on Lower Matecumbe Key.

The September 2017, Category 4 storm produced a massive oceanside surge that destroyed many properties in Islamorada, including several high-end hotels. It also thrashed Anne’s Beach, destroying its boardwalk, bathroom facilities and two parking lots.

The damage was so bad that it won’t be until next Friday, almost two years since Irma, that the Village of Islamorada, which maintains the beach, reopens it to the public.

The village is holding a grand opening Friday, Aug. 23 at 11 a.m.

The project to rebuild the beach began almost a year ago and cost the village $1.6 million, according to a statement this week.

The centerpiece of the improvements is a 1,300 feet boardwalk with six pavilions that wends its way through the nearly quarter mile of mangroves that line the beach. There are also a bathroom facility and parking lots on the north and south end of the beach.

Although the beach is now open to the public, the north parking lot is still under construction, a project that is scheduled to be complete in either late September or early October, according to the release.

The original article reported the beach reopened Aug. 16. The official reopening date is Aug. 23.

David Goodhue covers the Florida Keys and South Florida for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald. Before joining the Herald, he covered Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.