$2.4M beach sand project underway

Trucks started dumping sand onto Fort Pierce Beach Monday as part of a $2.4 million emergency restoration project.

St. Lucie County is placing 75,000 cubic yards of sand on the beach south of Fort Pierce Inlet to protect Jetty Park, State Road A1A and nearby businesses and residences from storm damage.

Construction activity may close parts of the beach and South Ocean Drive at St. Lucie Court from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., said county spokesman Erick Gill. No weekend work is scheduled. The project is expected to be completed before May 30, Gill said. St. Lucie County must cover the tab because the project was not included in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget.

Meanwhile, county commissioners are pushing two condominium associations to dedicate land for public beach access and parking to save $4 million on a $22.8 million beach restoration project from Normandy Beach to the Martin County line in 2021.

The Army Corps would pay the $4 million under a funding formula that rewards greater public beach access, records show.

But the Mir-a-Mar and Princess/Empress condominiums pushed back against the county’s requests for the land for beach access and called for the county to buy land nearby.

Instead, commissioners reached a consensus March 10 not to buy land for public beach access and renewed their calls for the condo associations to dedicate the land needed.

Commissioners noted they are chipping in county money to reduce the property tax imposed on barrier island property owners for the local share of the beach restoration costs. “I’m not interested in purchasing the land,” said Commission Chairwoman Cathy Townsend. “They’re the ones that are going to benefit from it. It’s to help them.”

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