Rumors on Anna Maria Island that beach renourishment would begin immediately after Thanksgiving were premature. But it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources director Charlie Hunsicker said he and Great Lakes Dock and Dredge, the contractor for the renourishment project, have not agreed to a date for mobilization or pumping sand on the island shore.
Hunsicker said he won’t know a start date “for another week or two,” but he expects mobilization to begin mid-December to early January.
Great Lakes, which did the 1992 and 2002 renourishment of the island beaches, has other projects to complete before its equipment can be brought to the island.
Mobilization of the dredge, graders and pipes might take several weeks before sand begins flowing from the chosen borrow site, about 2,000 feet off the northwest tip of Anna Maria.
Renourishment will start at the 79th Street beach access in Holmes Beach and proceed south through Cortez Beach. No Anna Maria beaches are included in this project.
With no weather delays or equipment failure, the renourishment of beach areas down to Cortez Beach should be finished by early February, Hunsicker said.
That will cause the least interference for resorts that advertise the beach as an amenity for guests.
After Cortez Beach is renourished with funds from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the state of Florida and Manatee County, Coquina Beach will be renourished with state and county funds.
The county’s portion of beach renourishment cost is paid with revenue from the tourist development tax collected on rentals of six months or less in Manatee County.
Hunsicker said the county saved about $2 million in mobilization costs by getting a permit from the Corps to renourish Coquina Beach after Cortez Beach.
That would have cost the state and county another mobilization fee from the selected contractor.
The Cortez Beach project includes installing state-of-the-art expandable groins to replace the dilapidated concrete groins located along the beach now.
Total cost of the entire renourishment project is estimated at $16 million.
While Anna Maria beaches are not included in this project, Hunsicker has said the Bean Point area of Anna Maria would need renourishment in the future. At this time, he said, those beaches are “in good condition.”