MARCO ISLAND — Marco is receiving about $2.1 million of the $8.1 million in U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency grants to Collier County. The grants are to renourish beaches that suffered erosion as a result of Tropical Storm Fay.
City Manager Steve Thompson reported in a weekly update that he met with Gary McAlpin, Collier County Coastal Zone Management Director Feb. 25, regarding some of the improvements taking place on Marco Island with beaches and inlets.
The county has received funding from FEMA for renourishment of the southwestern tip of Marco Island to correct the beach erosion resulting from Tropical Storm Fay in August 2008. FEMA will provide a $2.1 million grant, which will be matched by about $700,000 from the tourism taxes paid on Marco Island to the Tourist Development Council.
Tourists pay about 4 percent in occupancy taxes at hotels and rental units, which is commonly called a "bed tax."
This 4 percent is split, with half of the funds to tourism development programs and the remaining half to beaches.
"Over the past four years the City of Marco Island has received more in value with beach maintenance in this fund than generated by the hotels," Thompson reported in his weekly report.
Marco's renourishment project should take place during 2009, and will replace about 76,000 cubic yards of sand, McAlpin has reported.
The county is looking for a source for the sand to be used in this project.
Collier County has also applied for additional FEMA funds to extend the current erosion control structure (segmented breakwaters) at the southwest tip of Marco Island, Thompson reported. This project will also cost about $2 million.
"Of course, beach maintenance is cyclical, but at this point our beaches seem to be in excellent condition and Collier County is doing a very nice job working with the property owners and the city to keep the beaches safe and attractive," Thompson wrote in the report.