Myrtle Beach has been awarded $16 million in federal funding for beach renourishment projects by the Army Corps of Engineers, according to a release from Horry County Spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier.
“This is in addition to $35 million in federal funds that has already been allocated to the Myrtle Beach Shore Protection Project for the City of North Myrtle Beach, the Town of Surfside Beach, and the Garden City sections of Horry and Georgetown Counties,” Bourcier wrote.
The largest city on the Grand Strand is the last to receive federal funding for the project, which puts sand back on the beach to fight erosion by storms and other wear and tear.
“We’re very excited about it,” Mayor John Rhodes said Thursday. “I’m happy for our people, for our tourists and for our business community.”
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Rhodes also praised the work of Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Tom Rice in securing the funding.
He said awarding funding in tandem with other town’s projects will help keep costs down. Doing nearby projects continuously, as opposed to moving the apparatus needed to put sand back on the beach, can save millions of dollars.
The federal government typically funds about 65 percent of a renourishment project, meaning state and local funding has to account for the other 35 percent of the cost.
However, the areas immediately south and north of Myrtle Beach were approved for “emergency” funding earlier this year, meaning their project costs will be covered 100 percent by federal monies.
“We don’t have bids yet, so we don’t know what the actual cost is going to be [for the city,]” Myrtle Beach Spokesman Mark Kruea said Thursday. “It will be 17.5 percent of whatever the actual cost is.”
The entire region was battered last fall by Hurricane Matthew. Large storms typically suck sand off of beaches and either push it further inland or deposit it in near-shore sandbars.
Kruea said the funding has been approved for this fiscal year, which starts July 1. But work might not begin until late next summer, he said — in the thick of tourist season.
“I hope that’s not the case,” he said.