The Matlacha Bridge Reef Project has raised enough money to transport 250 tons of the old Matlacha Bridge to the Novac Reef site, which is located near Boca Grande Pass.
Tina Bush said the group has raised almost $20,000 through pledged amounts and fund-raisers for the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project.
She said they would love to be able to transport 500 tons of the bridge to the site. In order to accomplish that goal, the organization needs to raise an additional $11,000.
The Matlacha Bridge Reef Project has matted and framed 100 prints of Mel Meo’s design, which became the logo of the organization. Each framed picture will have Meo’s signature, along with an old piece of the Matlacha bridge for $100.
The Matlacha Bridge Reef Project, Rod Mazzoli said, has hired Kelly Brothers as the barge company to transport the bridge material and deposit it at the artificial reef site.
The original estimate that Kelly Brothers gave to the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project was $18,000 for the first barge and $15,000 for the second barge.
Bush said Kelly Brothers reduced the price by $3,000, so they could reach their goal.
Portions of the bridge have already been selected for what will be transported to the site, which will be saved and put aside as the demolition of the bridge begins. Bush said some of the bridge material chosen is already submerged in the water, which will continue the growth of the habitat.
Bush said Archer Western is going to transfer the old bridge to the barge at no cost. The county has also waived permits for the project.
Due to the extent of the destruction that will take place with the old Matlacha Bridge, Bush hopes material from the bridge will begin to be transported to Novac Reef by mid to late December.
"We will let people know of the final drop date," Bush said. "We welcome the public to be a continued part of it."
Mazzoli said the material from the bridge will be placed at the southern most tip of the Novac Reef.
The Matlacha Bridge Reef Project has matted and framed 100 prints of Mel Meo's design, which became the logo of the organization. Bush said each framed picture will have Meo's signature, along with an old piece of the Matlacha bridge for $100.
Individuals who are interested in purchasing one are encouraged to call Bush at 239-244-4434 or stop by Island Floors Inc. & Interiors located at 5261 Pine Island Road, N.W.
The idea of turning the old Matlacha Bridge into an artificial reef came to fruition the first week of July and soon turned into a non-profit organization - the Matlacha Bridge Reef Project - because Mazzoli wanted to preserve a piece of the island's history.