Welcome widening for Folly’s beach
A deal is a deal, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to hold up its end by ponying up $20 million for the renourishment of Folly Beach.
The Corps did the right thing, and prodding by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., didn’t hurt.
Critics can say that Folly Beach allowed houses to be built where they shouldn’t have been built and that battling the forces of the Atlantic Ocean is futile.
But the federal government, years ago, conceded that when it built the jetties, it changed the water flow, causing increased erosion of nearby Folly Beach.
The government agreed to pay for renourishment every eight years or as needed. It was last done in 2005.
Not only has it been eight years, it is clear that renourishment is needed to save properties as the beach has shrunk considerably due to normal erosion and exacerbated by Irene, a storm that passed by offshore.
Not only is losing beach of consequence to property owners whose houses are in jeopardy, it is of consequence to the public who use the beach for recreation and to business owners who profit from beach visitors.
It is good news that Sen. Graham and Rep. Clyburn were able to secure the federal money from the Corps of Engineers. The South Carolina delegation had been divided over securing the funds because of differences of opinion over federal spending.
Local and state money will be needed to close the $2 million to $5 million gap in project expenses that is expected.
Meanwhile, the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission has spent $3 million to get started on its own renourishment of its popular park on the island’s west end.
It’s a pity that PRC had to spend the money, but it was a wise move in that it gives the public use of the public beach this summer. The renourishment of the rest of the island will not begin until the fall.
That can’t come too soon for those who appreciate the surf and sun at the Edge of America.