Sunday, August 10, 2014

Town eyes process to get federal beach money |

When I moved to the area in 1989, Palm Beach did not have a "midtown" beach. In 1995, the first renourishment project gave the beach back to Palm Beach. Since then, it has continued with the projects every six or seven years. It is gearing up to do more itself and is now considering partnering with the Army Corps of Engineers as a way to share costs. This is made more critical due to the effects of sea level rise. Essentially, the town of Palm Beach pours money into the ocean, only to watch it wash out to sea and it will do so until it can't. Click title for link. Check out the total cost to-date of the program.

Including the first project in 1995, the Midtown beaches have been nourished three times. A fourth beach fill is planned for this winter costing $17.6 million and will include partial nourishment at Phipps Ocean Park/Reach 7 and dune restoration in Reach 8.
Of the $61 million spent on coastal protection construction projects from budget years 2001- 2013, the town has paid about 70.5 percent of the cost, the state has paid about 23 percent and the federal government has paid about 6.5 percent. (FEMA paid about $4 million for Hurricane Wilma damage in 2006).
“I don’t know exactly what the percentages might be for future federal cost-sharing — whether it’s 50-50 or 25-75 — but it’s likely to be millions of dollars of federal money,” Elwell said.
Federal money would lower the state’s share, Elwell said, but the town’s net cost still would go down.