HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hancock County's sand beach is about to undergo a $1 million transformation. Sand that washed away from the shoreline during Hurricane Isaac will be replaced.
County leaders say when the work is finished, the beaches will reopen with a lot more for people to do.
The damage caused by Hurricane Isaac was significant. County leaders estimate 60,000 cubic yards of sand eroded away. Mother Nature carved into the shoreline displacing the sand, but those seeing the beach for the first time don't seem to notice.
"I don't notice anything wrong. It would be nice if there were more waves," said Bonnie Gustin.
Bonnie and Keith Gustin are from upstate New York. They say they enjoyed their day on the beach in Hancock County.
"To me, this is a pretty wide beach. We've walked some pretty narrow beaches," said Bonnie.
The beach replenishment project will extend the beach to its original foot print.
"We're going to re-nourish the beach out to about a 150 foot profile," explained Lisa Cowand, President of the Hancock County Board Of Supervisors.
Some of the sand that will replenish the beach will come from the bottom of the bay. It will be dredged up, dried out and reused. The other half will be trucked in.
"The water just gets up to a certain point, and it just sits there and continues to wash the sand out," Hancock County Supervisor David Yarborough said.
He said some areas are worse than others. In the area around Washington Street, the width of the beach has been cut in half.
"It is a constant battle," said Yarborough.
The work is expected to start the first week of December and take about four months to complete. County leaders say when the work is finished, the beaches will reopen with a lot more for visitors to do.
"Our beach ordinance is in effect now with the beach vendors. Just picture it with the kayaks, paddle boats, ice cream vendors or the snowball stands. It's just all coming together," Cowand said.
FEMA will pay the lion's share of the cost of the replenishment project. MEMA will pay 12.5 percent, and the county will cover the remainder.