Grand Strand

Pawleys Island could get federal help for beach renourishment

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WBTW) - After waiting more than a decade, the town could finally get federal help to fix up most of its beaches.

Back in 2004, Pawleys Island asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help renourish the town's beaches. The town didn't get approval from the Army Corps then, so in the last few years, Pawleys designed its own project.

The town's project discussed in June is estimated to cost about $12,456,000.

"The reason people come here is for the beach and without the beach, there wouldn't be these cottages here," said Pawleys Island mayor Jimmy Braswell.

It would be the first widespread renourishment for Pawleys, putting nearly 800,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach, from the island's southern tip to near the Pawleys Pier Village. Less than two weeks before a contractor needed to be picked, the town got surprising news.

On July 5, the Army Corps finally offered to give Pawleys $9,230,000 for beach renourishment.

"The most perfect plan was them to give us the money and let us just manage our own project, use that money for that," Braswell said.

Braswell says using federal and town funds would be ideal, since the town's project would use up two decades of accommodations tax savings and Pawleys would have to borrow $1,745,000.

However, the mayor says it's a tough decision because the Army Corps would be in charge if the town uses their money and the project could take longer.

"So they would have their own dredger," said Braswell. "They would have their own engineers. They would do their own beach profile, but a lot of work has already been done by Coastal Science & Engineering, our scientists."

Pawleys Island surveyed residents about beach renourishment earlier this month. The mayor says a majority of residents supported putting sand back on the beach and contributing to a fund for future projects.

Town leaders will meet Monday morning to decide whether or not to pick Marinex Construction from Charleston.

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