Surfside Beach could use leftover beach renourishment money on new pier

Grand Strand

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The town is looking to pay for a roughly $10 million replacement to one of its most iconic landmarks: the fishing pier.

The wooden pier, which was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, will be replaced by a concrete one.

“As we have (U.S.) Highway 17 being done, don’t forget about the pier,” said Surfside town council member Randle Stevens, alluding to the ongoing Kings Highway construction project. “It’ll be the only concrete pier in the state of South Carolina. It’s going to be a good thing for the town of Surfside. It’s going to produce a lot of revenue.”

FEMA pledged to give that money to the project, but mayor Bob Childs says the town has to pay for the work before it gets reimbursed. Surfside is now looking to use a pot of money also reserved for the oceanfront: beach renourishment.

Town council passed first reading at Tuesday night’s meeting of an ordinance to move future beach renourishment money to the pier fund.

“We anticipate the next (renourishment project) will be 2028,” said finance director Diana King.

If the ordinance passes one more reading, some of Surfside’s accommodations and hospitality tax revenue, which was set aside for beach renourishment in the past, would also fund the pier project until 2021.

“We wanted to use the money that we had earmarked, the $75,000 from each fund, to help pay for the pier, so we wanted to put that into the pier fund instead,” King said.

Surfside has about $650,000 left over from last year’s renourishment project. The town clarified Wednesday that money will stay in the beach renourishment fund.

The ordinance would also create the stormwater management utility fund, after Surfside’s council approved a fee for stormwater upgrades earlier this month.

As for the pier, construction can’t begin until FEMA completes its environmental impact study.

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