Venice leaders want more sand for beaches

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VENICE - Venice city leaders say their beach needs more sand to protect it from potential storms. The state has included some money in its proposed budget. Now, they wait for the federal governments help.

Since 2005, a 12 million- dollar beach renourishment project along the city of Venice has slowly washed away. It’s a buffer Mayor John Holic says is vital to the city. "If it's a severe enough storm, we are talking about water that would come all the way down Venice Avenue; All the way to the intercoastal. A good beach would stop a lot of that and perhaps save the city."

Holic has gone to Washington DC to get the next scheduled project in 2015 moved up. The city has saved its share, about a million and half. Now, the state's budget for this year matches that. Holic says they still await word the federal government will throw in the $9 million more needed. "We have asked them to push forward our beach renourishment money so the next time a storm comes though we will have a protected beach and a protected city. Thus far they have not done it."

It's obviously a lot of money for some sand that can wash away with a storm.

Government watchdog and environmental groups we've talked to over the years say it's a waste of money and all just a result of building too close to the water’s edge.

"It is not what Mother Nature intended. In order to allow for these long term structures to stay it is going to be a costly thing for us to continue to maintain these beaches," says Glen Compton of Manasota 88.

Of course moving what's there isn't very realistic. Holic says it's a proactive investment. "The amount of money that sand will save is enormous. Without the sand to protect the city the money to rebuild the city would be many times more."

Local Representative Doug Holder told us over the phone it's also an investment in our economy. "It's a good use of those funds. People from all over the world come to Sarasota County, because we have such beautiful beaches."

Hopeful for some new sand and hopeful it lasts. "It should be an easier process. It’s something that will hopefully last longer."

If the money does in fact come in this year, Venice officials say work would begin along the beach in about 8 months.