Beach renourishment on Pawleys Island will get underway this fall, following a vote Monday during a special called meeting of Town Council.
About a year ago, Council members voted to accept an offer from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to fund a project proposal from 2004.
With delays and no certainty that the Corps project would be funded to the extent earlier agreed upon, members held called meetings Friday and Monday. Following discussion both days and comments from the public on Monday, Council voted to move forward with the project.
Rocky Holliday offered a motion “to proceed with a decision of (implementing) the Marinex contract, at a minimum of 750,000 cubic yards (of sand), with a possibility of moving it up, once we’ve determined financing.”
The four members present voted unanimously to approve the motion. Sarah Zimmerman was out of town and listened on a conference call but did not vote since she wasn’t present.
“Good decision,” Mayor Jimmy Braswell said.
The audience agreed, applauding Council members after the vote.
During the discussion, Council members leaned toward more sand but were concerned about long-term costs. They also talked of benefits of the Corps project, with emphasis on a 50-year commitment to help with costs for future renourishment so long as the town maintained the “engineered beach” profile in the plan.
In recent discussions Braswell and others expressed their frustration with delays in getting the project underway. A sticking point was that now Corps officials in Washington, D.C. are saying they would require a “validation study” of the cost benefit ratio for the project. Local Corps officials stated that the Town would not have to undergo such a validation study.
In the wake of at least four named storms and flooding events in recent years, Braswell said his priority was to get “sand on the beach.”
With the addition of the validation study requirement, Council decided the town would do the project on its own and not wait.
Marinex agreed to cut its bid from a year ago by about $500,000. It also agreed to reduce the cost of sand put on the beach beyond the base amount of 750K cubic yards. The S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism will pay a portion of the cost of the sand.
Town Administrator Ryan Fabbri was to call Marinex on Monday and send a letter of intent for the project to proceed.