PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - It was a sobering report for members of the Pinellas County Tourist Development Council. Today they received the preliminary numbers of the damage to Pinellas County beaches from Tropical Storm Debby.
Andy Squires, the Pinellas County Costal Manager, showed a series of slides. From Fort De Soto to Honeymoon Island, the damage from Debby is extensive.
Non-federal beaches, like Fort De Soto: $866,000 in damage. Federal beaches, like Treasure Island: Between 15 and 20 million dollars.
Squires told the Council they are already working to acquire Federal and State assistance to fix what Debby fouled up.
He says getting State funding might be tricky but Federal funding should be available and the sooner they get it the better. "We got a dredge out there now working on Sand Key," he said. "That project had been planned for several years and the fact that they are there now, if we can modify that contract, with some of these emergency funds, we could get this done in the next few months. If we can't get the emergency funds then it could be something of a process of months or a year or so or more."
If they do manage to get that funding now with the dredge already in the area, Squires believes they could save close to $2 million.
As for the Council itself, with tourism being so important to Pinellas County, Council Chairman, John Marroni summed it up saying, "People expect to see a beach when they come here on vacation. And that's going to be a priority for us. It has to be."
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