By Cheryl Blackerby
Delray Beach and Boca Raton are likely to receive long-awaited money for damage to beaches by Hurricane Sandy, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The two cities’ beach projects were among 16 projects around the state that the Corps considered for emergency assistance in response to Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Debby.
After the Corps’ damage reports were completed, 12 projects were approved to receive the emergency funds.
“North Boca has received $222,000 out of their proposed $2,340,000. We expect (Boca Raton) to receive the remainder of the funds in the third quarter,” said Amanda Ellison, public affairs specialist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Delray Beach, she said, “has received $4,460,250 and should be fully funded.”
In all, about $147 million in emergency funds has been approved for the 12 projects as part of the Corps’ Flood Control and Coastal Emergency program.
“Each community applied for the program, and we conducted a study to determine who qualified for the program,” said Ellison. “We had 12 positive outcomes across the state, so this is great news.”
Delray Beach and Boca Raton were told they would receive letters from the Corps advising them if they would get the emergency funds and, if so, how much.
The waiting had been tense for both cities. As of press time, neither city had received official confirmation letters, but officials are hopeful they’re in the mail.
“We’ve been working with them (the Corps) for a while, and we always maintained hope to get funding to assist us,” said Rich Reade, Delray Beach public information officer.
“Is it a surprise? Yes, but a pleasant surprise,” said Arthur Koski, acting director and legal counsel for the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District, which recently had been asked by the city of Boca Raton for $200,000 to pay for dune restoration after Hurricane Sandy.
Luckily, the district hadn’t sent the check yet, said Koski.
The following beach projects damaged by Hurricane Sandy are expected to receive emergency funds, says Ellison: Brevard County — North Reach and South Reach; Martin County; Fort Pierce Beach; Palm Beach County — North Boca Raton, Jupiter/Carlin and Delray Beach; and Broward County, Segment 2.
The beach projects affected by Tropical Storm Debby that are getting emergency funds are Treasure Island in Pinellas County; Anna Maria Island in Manatee County; and Gasparilla and Captiva in Lee County.
In addition, the Corps approved emergency supplemental funds for navigation projects impacted by Hurricane Sandy: Port Canaveral, Palm Beach Harbor, Fort Pierce Inlet, St. Lucie Inlet, Port Everglades, St. Augustine Inlet, Ponce Inlet and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami.
By Cheryl Blackerby