DELRAY BEACH — The city’s shorelines are getting the crème de la crème of lifeguard towers — durable and good-looking with enhanced features such as solar panels —but it’s going to cost taxpayers about $1.1 million.
And that price tag was a tough sell for some city leaders.
“This is a condominium price that we’re paying for a small structure on the beach,” said Commissioner Shelly Petrolia, the lone vote Tuesday against the $1.1 million contract for the eight new lifeguard towers. The towers come out to about $126,000 a piece, with additional costs for construction.
Delray Beach decided about a year ago to replace the aging towers, which will be demolished. City leaders asked that the new towers have enhanced elements: solar panels to power radios and fans, stainless steel bolts that won’t rust, and shutters to protect the glare-free windows during storms.
“As a taxpayer here, forgetting this position,” said Mayor Cary Glickstein, “I would like to know that we’ve provided all of our public safety officers with the best possible equipment out there.”
With beaches that draw about 3 million visitors a year, Delray Beach should provide comfortable conditions for its lifeguards, Glickstein said.
“If I’m a lifeguard, I’d like to have a fan in there in August … I want to give the men and women in there what they deserve,” he said.
The material for the eight lifeguard towers are pricier than usual, according to the contractor, but should save the city money on maintenance by splurging on stainless steel bolts that don’t rust.