HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – An additional $29 million in federal funding is coming to the Grand Strand to help with beach renourishment projects, according to a press release from Congressman Tom Rice's office.
The money will go toward repairing damage to area beaches caused by Hurricane Matthew and other recent natural disasters.
These funds are in additional to over $51 million that has been secured over the past two years, the release stated. The extra $29 million will allow for the completion of the Myrtle Beach Shore Protection Project for North Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach and the Garden City sections of Horry and Georgetown counties.
"Its a long term project that keeps our beaches in good shape and that feeds tourism which creates tens of thousands of jobs," said Rice, ""The army corps agrees that beachfront maintenence has worked very well along the grand strand and it's certainly a significant investment."
Visitors and residents agree that beach renourishment is essential in a coastal community like Myrtle Beach.
"Matthew came through and it just destroyed our beaches. It destroyed a lot of buildings. It destroyed rivers," said Ron Rock who has lived in the Myrtle Beach area for about five years.
Craig Utvich is visiting from Ontario Canada. He didn't know what beach renourishment was until today, but said he thinks its a good idea and is on board.
"I mean this is part of why people come - for the beaches. It's a beautiful beach. If you let it go away people are going to go somewhere where there's a nice beach," said Utvich.
"Our beaches are the lifeblood of our coastal economy and this funding is critical to their prosperity," Rice said in a statement.
The Army Corps of Engineers said they won't have a start date for the renourishment until they officially have the funds and can award them to the contractor.