Permits Ready for Island Jetty

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By Linda Cicoira — Permits have been approved that would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to construct a $3 million seawall to help protect the western side of Tangier Island from storms. Work is set to begin in 2018 and be completed next year.

The news was brought to island officials and residents by Rep. Scott Taylor last Friday as he spoke at an outdoor pavilion on Tangier.

“The (six-year) federal permitting process is done,” Taylor said. “It’s approved. I bring good news. I understand how vital that is for you guys, for our way of life out here, for the waterman, for this working harbor.”

“Very encouraging for the folks,” said Mayor James “Ooker” Eskridge, who talked to President Donald Trump by phone about the issue in 2017 and later visited Washington for the effort.

“It’s important to Tangier,” the mayor said. “It’s vital. It’s our major concern out here. It’s really some of the best news we could get. Protecting the island is first and foremost in everybody’s mind. … It’s great. I think everybody will rest easier,” Eskridge said.

Taylor said he expects Gov. Ralph Northam to visit the island soon and talk about “the state’s share and that approval. We’re going to get that jetty in now.”

“What great news for our beautiful Island and it shows what can happen when all levels of government work together,” was the statement on the island’s Facebook page. “We appreciate Delegate (Robert) Bloxom and Congressman Taylor coming out to share the news with our residents. Would also like to thank the mayor, council members, and residents that took time out of their schedules to come. Also, we would like to thank Accomack County Sheriffs Department for always helping in getting people to the island” on the department’s boat.

“I’m pretty sure the mayor has another project for me to start pushing,“ Taylor said. “We’ll talk to the mayor for the next step.”