Provided by the Municipal Association of SC
The City of Isle of Palms received a Municipal Achievement Award for its beach re-nourishment project. Officials were presented with the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s 72nd Annual Meeting on June 30. The town won in the 1001 – 5000 population category. Thirty-three cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
Erosion is a problem for many beach communities, and the Isle of Palms is no exception. Also like other communities, the city did not have millions of dollars to re-nourish its disappearing beaches.
To protect the island’s tourism livelihood and ensure public safety, city officials organized a group of stakeholders to help beach re-nourishment become a reality, and city staff took on the role of project manager for the endeavor.
City council committed $1.9 million of funding but required other stakeholders to cover the balance of funds. Stakeholders included individual property, condominium and resort owners, and community associations. Grants from Charleston County and the state helped finance the re-nourishment project. In its role as project manager, city staff maintained an escrow account for the funds and reported all fund activities at each month’s Ways and Means Committee meeting.
With funding underway, the longest part of the project began – permitting and compliance. The process took several years. Regulatory agencies required pre-project surveys and three years of post-project surveys to assess the project’s environmental impact. With permitting finally approved, the city finished the project within months. In 2008, Isle of Palms restored nearly 900,000 cubic yards of sand to the beach.
With crews working 24/7 during the peak tourist season, officials anticipated complaints. The public demonstrated incredible support, and the project became a showpiece for the city and its residents.
Collaboration among the stakeholders was a hallmark of the project. From providing funding to public education to dealing with dredging equipment discharging a historic cannonball on the beach, project stakeholders worked together.
The north beach on Isle of Palms is again an oasis for local families and tourists. And the City of Isle of Palms and other stakeholders have proven they are stewards of the local economy as well as protectors of the island’s beautiful natural resources.
“To protect their tourism livelihood and ensure public safety, city officials provided leadership in organizing a group of stakeholders to make beach re-nourishment a reality,” said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association.
These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. More information and a video about the project are available on the Association’s website at www.masc.sc.
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.