In Flaggler Beach, Florida, the small town's largest asset and biggest money maker – the beach itself – is the subject of discussion over how much to spend on to to keep it a place Floridians flock to, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.
According to the media outlet, a study will be completed in the first of the new year to help officials make the maintenance management decision. The report will focus on the benefits of a new program that can reverse beach erosion trends that have been reported in recent years. As the company works to bolster its boardwalk of restaurants and other areas, it will also look at new ways to increase parking in the downtown and beach areas to attract more visitors.
"We're trying to keep it small-town and friendly but at the same time be progressive," City Commissioner Marshall Shupe said about the 2013 changes.
One of the biggest changes, and one that is expected to pay off tremendously down the line, the move to install a new system that will keep the beach from eroding into the sea. All the parking spaces and new restaurants will be worthless if there is no beach to see, officials say.
That's why the town has turned to Holmberg Technologies to build a system that will use large fabric tubes filled with concrete slurry that will be laid out for hundreds of feet perpendicular to the beach. Natural currents and waves will push sand back toward the beach, replenishing it for future generations. According to the news source, the city has already secured $50,000 in tax bed dollars to pay for a study that will assess exactly how much the maintenance program would cost.
Still, some city officials are questioning if the multi-million project is feasible.
"That's always the biggest problem – where are you going to get the money to fund a 1 million or 10 million [dollar] project?" commissioner Joy McGrew asked.
Environmental maintenance activities must adhere to regulations established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has stepped up its enforcement recently and plans to do so even more in the coming years.
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