CRESTVIEW — At best, Okaloosa County’s planned East Pass dredging/beach restoration project could see 105,000 cubic yards of sand placed on a Holiday Isle beach near the east jetty in Destin and an equal amount deposited on an Okaloosa Island beach near the west jetty.
That’s according to Deputy County Administrator for Operations Greg Kisela, who on Tuesday updated the County Commission on the overall project that might begin in early March and be completed around mid-April.
Kisela said the county’s most recent survey results include a “best-case scenario” total of 210,000 cubic yards of sand that could be dredged for the beach projects. At worst, the total could be as little as 160,000 cubic yards, he said.
If the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determines the lower amount is the actual total, 80,000 cubic yards of sand would go on the beach by the west jetty and an equal amount would go on the “reach 1” area by the east jetty.
Putting some of the sand by the west jetty is part of an agreement the county has with three Condo Alliance of Okaloosa Island officers who have fought to prevent all the sand going to Holiday Isle.
In regards to another aspect of the project, Kisela said the earlier-planned placement of 30,000 cubic yards of sand on the reach 2 area farther east on Holiday Isle is now off the table.
That’s because property owners in the “gap” between the two reaches haven’t agreed to allow beach re-nourishment pipes to be set up on their properties for the reach 2 part of the project.
For full restoration, the reach 1 area requires 160,000 cubic yards of sand. State law requires the county to place any remaining amount of required sand within the next three years.
Including the 30,000 cubic yards of sand that's needed for reach 2, the total amount of sand that would have to be placed on Holiday Isle within the next three years could range from 85,000 to 110,000 cubic yards. That sand could be obtained from East Pass or other areas, such as upland sand sources.
Kisela said as long as there is good weather and without having to go to reach 2, the Corps thinks its $1.5 million in federal funding should cover the cost of the project.
That means the up to $2 million in county bed tax money that was budgeted for the initial, larger project wouldn't be necessary.
The initial work was based on a survey that found 240,000 cubic yards of sand could be dredged from East Pass.
In other business Tuesday, the commission approved spending $2.4 million in half-cent sales tax money for a new Sheriff's Office training center near Crestview and $2.6 million in half-cent sales tax funds for seven road/stormwater projects.