Money lined up to repair beaches, but not until next year - FOX 13 News

Money lined up to repair beaches, but not until next year

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Pinellas beaches shredded by last summer's Tropical Storm Debby will be repaired, but not until sometime next fall or winter.

That leaves properties on two beaches on Treasure Island and two in St. Pete Beach exposed to this year's potential ravages.

"Just look at what Tropical Storm Debby did," said Treasure Island Mayor Bob Minning, pointing to a stretch of Sunset Beach. "It took out 100-some-odd feet of beach."

One beachfront home's irrigation system sticks out of the side of an escarpment.

"There is more to erode but the sacrificial portion of it now is no longer the public beach, it's going to be the private property, and it's going to extend into backyards," Minning commented.

The state budget finalized last week includes funding to match local and federal contributions toward renourishment projects. It will cost roughly $12 million to rebuild Sunset and Sunrise Beaches on Treasure Island, and $6 million to renourish Upham and Pass-A-Grille Beaches in St. Pete Beach.

The work will begin on Treasure Island, possibly by September, according county coastal engineer Andy Squires.

The plan includes renourishing the beach behind Caddy's, a popular beach bar on Treasure Island. The state of Florida and Caddy's owner Tony Amico are in court again in an ownership dispute.

Several years ago, Amico claimed his beach is private, alleging the jetty at John's Pass interrupted the natural southward flow of migrating sand, causing his land to be inundated.

The state settled that lawsuit by granting Amico unusual private property rights, including the right to any renourished beach.

"They're doing what they said they'd do in our settlement agreement and I appreciate the state for keeping their word and being honorable about it," Amico said.

Last year, a new state administration reversed course, sending Amico a letter stating his beach is actually public. That launched a second round of lawsuits that are still in court.

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