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Beaches: County will fund sand for Garden City

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Georgetown County agreed this week to renourish more than a mile of Garden City Beach as part of a $5 million beach restoration project proposed by Horry County.

Georgetown County’s share of the cost will be $998,000 but Administrator Sel Hemingway told members of County Council Tuesday he expects $480,000 to be reimbursed by the state of South Carolina from a $30 million fund established by the legislature. The county’s net cost of $517,000 will be funded from local accommodations taxes, council members decided.

The renourishment project, stretching from North Myrtle Beach to the southern tip of Garden City Beach, is part of the Shoreline Protection Project agreement signed by the two counties in 1996. Hemingway said erosion hit Horry’s beaches hard last winter, and the county accelerated its renourishment plans in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers. Georgetown County is contractually obligated to renourish 6,750 feet of beachfront within its borders.

The Corps requires local money be posted prior to bidding the project, Hemingway said. The county will put up $998,000. “Horry County made its deposit in good faith,” he said. “We owe Horry.”

The Georgetown County portion of the renourishment project will restore Garden City Beach to the point where pure sand from the dredging of Murrells Inlet is planned to be placed. That dredging is planned to begin this fall once bids are let.

Council Member John Thomas asked if Horry could sue Georgetown County if it didn’t fund its share of the cost. Yes, Hemingway said, that would be a violation of the agreement that runs through 2046.

Federal assistance pertaining to this project includes engineering and design by the Corps. The renourishment project is scheduled to begin in October and be finished by January. The sand will come from offshore and be piped onto the beaches. The inlet dredging project is expected to begin this fall and continue through March. Pure sand from the mouth of the inlet will be placed on the beach, abutting the sand from the two counties.

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