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Water-Related News

Longboat Key reaches for federal beach money

For the first time in its history, the town may get help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to renourish its beaches.

In 1984, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined the town of Longboat Key was eligible for federal renourishment funding for about two-and-half miles of beach near the county line. More than 30 years later, the town hasn’t received any federal funds.

But this year, the federal agency requested $1.5 million in funding to study the feasibility of undertaking a shoreline restoration on the Key, which Town Manager Dave Bullock said the municipality will match. If the study ultimately leads to a beach project for the island, the town will lock down federal funding for 50 years.

“I think we've gotten farther now in the last couple of months than we have in the years I’ve been here,” said Bullock, just minutes before speaking with Army Corps project manager Brandon Burch Thursday morning.

During the call, Burch outlined plans to include the town in its fiscal year 2018 budget. Despite the agency identifying at least two miles of shoreline worthy of federal money three decades ago, it’s still uncertain whether the town currently has shorelines that qualify for enough support from the Army Corps for the town to accept federal dollars.