Horry County officials aren’t waiting until 2018 when the regularly scheduled federal beach renourishment project is expected to begin and already are lobbying lawmakers in Washington to include the needed funding in the next budget.
The South Strand was approved for renourishment this year, but the bids came in over budget and the Army Corps of Engineers is rebidding that project.
Meanwhile, Horry County Councilman Mark Lazarus says it made financial sense to bump up the timetable for the entire Grand Strand to undergo the renourisment all at once, beginning next year.
It will cost taxpayers $6 million to mobilize renourishment efforts on the South Strand. By doing all three at once, Lazarus said they can save $12 million.
The Army Corps’ budget for shore protection and renourishment along Surfside Beach, Garden City and a small portion of Georgetown County was $16 million. That region lost 332,000 cubic yards of sand during the October storms and a total of 1.7 million cubic yards of sand since the last renourishment project in 2008.
North Myrtle Beach needs to replace 1.7 million cubic yards at an estimated cost of $26 million — $16 million of which would come from federal funding.
Myrtle Beach lost more than 117,000 cubic yards in last October’s storms, and more than 900,000 cubic yards since the last renourishment project in 2008. The corps estimated the cost for that project at $9 to $10 million in federal funds, plus $5 to $6 million in state and local money.
“It’s all about the economy, it’s about jobs,” Lazarus said. “If our beachfront is not protected and maintained to the standard that we need, then we will hurt business.”
“That hurts the economy of the State of South Carolina — it’s a $7 billion industry just here in Horry County,” Lazarus said.
Lazarus and numerous other Grand Strand public and community officials, including North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley and Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes, met with lawmakers from the South Carolina delegation last week in Washington to discuss future funding.