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Pass-A-Grille Beach Renourishment Project Set to Begin

Cora Quantum (AI)

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Pass-A-Grille Beach. Photo provided.

A major beach renourishment project at Pass-A-Grille Beach is set to commence June 3, following the allocation of an additional $4.4 million by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. The project’s aim is to combat erosion and maintain the shoreline, a critical asset for the local economy and environment.

The project will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will involve the placement of approximately 10,000 cubic yards of sand from the ongoing Grand Canal Dredging project. The second phase, pending permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will add about 140,000 cubic yards of sand from the Pass-A-Grille inlet.

“Once it’s done, the beach is going to have a total width of about 165 feet. We need to replace the sand every 10 years or so or it’ll continue to erode back, which will impact infrastructure in the community,” said Dr. John Bishop, Pinellas County Coastal Management Coordinator in a prepared statement.

The economic importance of the beaches is underscored by recent data. In 2023, Pinellas County recorded a historic high in bed tax collections, with over $98 million generated from visitors. This tourism revenue contributed to a total economic impact of nearly $11 billion, according to Brian Lowack, President and CEO of Visit St. Pete Clearwater. “This money is truly well spent when we reinvest it into these beaches, not only for our visitors but also for our residents,” Lowack said.

Despite the construction, Pass-A-Grille businesses will remain open, although access to sections of the beach and parking areas will be restricted. Beachgoers are advised to stay clear of active construction zones. Up-to-date information on closures and project details can be found at https://pinellas.gov/projects/pass-a-grille-beach-nourishment/.

The project also takes into account the ongoing sea turtle nesting season, which lasts through October. Pinellas County and its contractors will collaborate with environmental partners to minimize disruptions to turtle nests. Further information on sea turtle nesting protection is available at https://pinellas.gov/sea-turtle-protection/.

Boaters in the area are urged to exercise caution around the dredging operations and adhere to all local maritime notices.

The renourishment project reflects a long-term strategy to sustain the beaches, which are crucial not only for tourism but also for protecting coastal infrastructure. The initiative is expected to continue the positive economic momentum seen in recent years, especially during peak tourist seasons.

As the project progresses, the community will be kept informed through public meetings and updates, ensuring that residents and visitors are aware of the project’s status and any impacts on beach access.

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