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Beach renourishment to invade Gulf beaches for summer season | News

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Beach renourishment to invade Gulf beaches for summer season

Treasure Island, Florida — Sections of beach all along the Gulf Coast are set to be blocked off just as summer beach season gets underway.

It's set to start in just a few weeks. There will be bulldozers, pipes and 24/7 workdays with hundreds of feet of beach off limits. The project to pump sand onto the shore to protect the coastline starts in Treasure Island and will move day by day down the coast where it will end at Pass-A-Grille Beach.

Tim Jennings says he's been coming to Sunshine Beach in Treasure Island for the past 15 years, and he's not looking forward to what's coming.

"Less beach access I guess, less room to the waves," Jennings said.

In just a few short weeks, "you'll be seeing some pipes and some heavy equipment, bulldozers and things like that, on the beach," said Pinellas County coastal manager Andy Squires.

It's a $16.2 million beach renourishment project backed by the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent erosion all along the Gulf Coast, and it's set to hit Treasure Island and St. Pete beaches starting July 2.

Beach renourishment project details (pdf)


"Without these kinds of projects periodically, if you look at our beaches back in the 60s and 70s many of them are eroded right up to the vegetation," Squires said.

For beach goers, it could be a pain.

"I think it would be a smart decision to wait until after the holiday weekend," said Treasure Island resident Sheila Harwood. "I think it's poor planning."

But Squires says the reality is, "there's so much money tied up into this, if they have to stop for a day, it'll costs thousands and thousands of dollars."

Joe Nuzzo has owned Suncoast Surf Shop in Treasure Island for 48 years. He says he relies on people going to the beach to keep him in business.

"We keep losing the beach and there'll be no beach for the people to go to," he said.

That's why he says pipes and bulldozers bringing in more sand are a momentary inconvenience.

"Inconvenience? No, it's another adventure. You sit there and watch them, it's kind of fun. Next day, they're two blocks further away," Nuzzo said.

The project is scheduled to be complete by the end of September. There will be a public meeting about the project Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. in the Treasure Island City Hall Auditorium.


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