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Breaking down what the city of Fairhope spends to replenish beach sand

(img: WPMI) Breaking down what the city of Fairhope spends on sand to replenish beach

Since 2014, the city of Fairhope has spent more than $94,000 dollars in sand and labor to restore one of the city's most popular public beach fronts.

For decades, Magnolia Beach located South of the Fairhope Pier has been in trouble with beach erosion.

Tonight we follow the money and we have a look at what's next for this small piece of paradise.

All the city has been able to do is maintain the beach spending more and more money nearly every year.

Right now, Magnolia Beach is essentially off limits. It's not closed but its certainly not safe.

Mother nature and the natural wave action along Mobile Bay have been eroding this beach for decades.

Fairhope resident Peggy DeVaney says its the beach everyone loves and enjoys.

"The piers are great you always see in the summertime kids, and on Sundays, weekends kids fishing and doing. You know its right here and its what you're used to," said Fairhope resident Peggy DeVaney.

For years the band-aid solution has been to bring in truck loads of sand and spending more than $94,000 doing it.

In 2014, the city of Fairhope spent more than $50,000 in sand, equipment and labor.

In 2016 it spent more than $26,000 and in 2017 more than $18,000.

"I mean you have to be realistic when its public money but I would like to see the beach stay," said DeVaney

Public Works Director Richard Johnson says the city is waiting for more than 6 million dollars in BP restore act money to come their way for shoreline projects.

It will come from a pot of 20 million dollars already approved by the Governor for Fairhope.

Until the restore act money is released, the city is prepared to spend its own money to bring in more sand by the truckload.

"We do enjoy tourism and visitors and we want to make sure we put our best foot forward, so yeah., I think our city council and mayor are committed to making sure, until we get a permanent solution, that we continue to pursue temporary effort to make it the best facility it can be," said Fairhope Public Works Director Richard Johnson.

Expert engineers hired by the city mapped out a plan in 2016. It calls for two rock formations called "offshore breakwaters" to hopefully and permanently stabilize the shoreline - which will extend the beachfront here more than 100 feet.

"So what they do is they become a point that not only protects the beach that's there but helps that beach stabilize and maintain itself so we are not physically moving sand constantly to keep the beach here in place," said Johnson.

It will not be an easy process though.

We're told the permitting process could take up to 18 months.

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