MANATEE -- Manatee County officials Tuesday celebrated confirmation more than $15 million is on its way for beach renourishment on Anna Maria Island.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday more than $9 million is budgeted for Manatee's shore protection in addition to more than $6 million already set aside, said Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County natural resources director.
"I cannot understate how fortunate we are to receive approvals for over $15 million in federal spending this year for our beaches, given the delicate political and economic climate in Washington," Hunsicker wrote in an e-mail message.
The money could move up the project's start date by approximately two years, Hunsicker said.
Construction could begin as soon as August, and would continue for up to seven months, he said at a meeting in Sarasota.
The renourishment project will start at the city of Holmes Beach and continue south to Longboat Pass, Hunsicker said.
The Corps also confirmed Coquina Beach groins, structures designed to slow sand erosion, would be reconstructed, he said.
Last summer, Tropical Storm Debby inflicted a beating on miles of Manatee's most famous beach attractions, especially the southern half of Anna Maria Island, which lies along the county's western edge.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.