Indian River County rebuilding beaches after Sandy

Sand and FEMA money may be long way off

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. - Long walks on the beach certainly have changed over the years.

"I've known the beaches for 20 years and this year they're pretty bad," said one visitor walking the beach on Monday.

Monday is one of the good days.  The ocean is leaving room for visitors to take in the view.

But exactly one month ago, Hurricane Sandy's winds and waves ripped through the shoreline, pushing the water straight through the dunes, worsening the erosion.

"That produced a significant amount of wave run-up and that's where all the damage came from,"  explained
James Gray, a coastal engineer for Indian River County.

Now the county is already shelling out to rebuild.

About half of the wooden walkway at Tracking Station Beach Park broke off during the storm. Crews just rebuilt it and are now working on the lifeguard stand.

"The main focus right now is to get the public facilities open, operational, next focus is re-building the beaches," said Gray.

But the missing 600,000 cubic yards of sand won't be so easy to fix.

FEMA estimates the damage to cost more than $14 million.  But county officials say that number may now change, to exclude private beaches which are not usually covered by FEMA.

"Sixty percent of the beaches are eligible for funding so 40 percent are ineligible and that's based on private, FEMA will not refund private projects."

If the sand does come, the process of obtaining federal money could take up to a year and a half.

By then, visitors may notice the problem becoming even worse.

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