ARIPEKA — Efforts to replenish sand on the beach and grounds at SunWest Park began last week on Feb. 4 with the delivery of 109 tons. By the end of March, 8,907 tons of sand is expected to be spread across the area, making up for what was lost during 2016’s Hurricane Hermine.
“Replenishing the sand lost during Hurricane Hermine ensures the visitor experience meets the expectation of a beach-like environment,” said Keith Wiley, the director of Pasco County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources. “The sand replacement will also allow the beach volleyball courts to be constructed to regulation depths, increasing user safety and enjoyment.”
The project will cost an estimated $240,000, with initial funding provided by the county. It is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of Florida for partial reimbursement, with FEMA coming in at 75 percent and the county and state splitting the balance.
The sand is being brought in from a mine near Davenport, in Polk County.
The beach’s enhancement could attract other events, according to Commissioner Jack Mariano, including beach weddings. He said a woman from Key West who specializes in such ceremonies in places as close as Clearwater has expressed interest and has been invited to soon tour the location with Pasco County staff members.