DUNEDIN — A Honeymoon Island State Park bathhouse built nearly 100 feet from the shore closed last week after decades of beach erosion left its wooden supports underwater.
The park's northernmost bathhouse, refitted to be the Puerto Rican backdrop of a mafia hit in the 2004 action film The Punisher, will sit on a wheeled trailer until it reopens in February at the back of the beach parking lot, a state spokeswoman said.
Visitors to Florida's busiest state park will be directed until then to temporary toilets or the park's three other bathhouses.
Built in the 1980s, the bathhouse is the last of the park's facilities to be moved away from the barrier island's shrinking coastline. Most of the buildings along the beach are elevated on stilts.
"Over time, the beach on Honeymoon Island has naturally become smaller," said Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Amy Graham. "As a result, the building was becoming very close to the water's edge. Although the structure was not in imminent danger of being damaged, this was the best time to begin the project."
At an estimated cost of $187,500, reconfiguring the parking lot and relocating the bathroom were the highest priorities this year for the park, according to a Department of Environmental Protection needs list.
Park staff members have struggled with sand retention along the shore for years.
A University of South Florida study in 1991, released months after officials paid $1.3 million for 13,000 truckloads of sand, concluded that expensive offshore breakwaters would be needed to slow erosion.
Crews have built structures along the water and dumped millions of dollars in new sand several times since, though much of it has washed out with the tide.
In August, Pinellas County commissioners approved $5.6 million for another sand replenishing on Honeymoon Island.