Emergency restoration brings thousands of pounds of sand to Lido Beach after erosion

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White sands and crystal-clear water: that's what first brought Bill Gilroy of Ohio to Lido Beach. 

"When we first came there, the beach was out to the rocks," he said. 

That was during his wedding nearly 7 years ago. 

He and his wife come back every year and have seen the beach they got married on slowly disappear. 

"It started to move out here," he said. "We came out a couple years ago it was like, 'Where’s the beach?' It’s gone." 

Bill wasn't the only one noticing. Hotels in the area also began to worry. 

"We've really only had less than 50 feet of beach. There was really no room for anybody to enjoy the beach," said David Marinich, general manager at Gulf Beach Resort.

To make matters worse, Lido took a pounding during storm season. 

"I've never seen the beach like this in my 30 years," said Alex Davisshaw, an engineer with the city of Sarasota.

Davisshaw said powerful winds and waves exposed parts of the beach that they had never seen before. 

"It was deflated, which means the sand was really low so things that have never been exposed were popping up. That means that there’s not a lot of shoreline to reduce the waves," Davisshaw said. 

A $3.9 million dollar emergency renourishment project started in December. The city, county, FEMA and Florida's Department of Environmental Protection all contributed money to fund it. 

Sand has been pumping almost every day; in all, 180,000 cubic yards of sand will be added once the renourishment is complete.

"We've got a plentiful beach that we didn’t have just a week ago. This has all been within the last week and a half, two weeks," Marinich said. 

It's just the beginning as the city prepares for a long-term renourishment project that's expected to start in the fall. 

"For right now this is wonderful, but when they come back in September and October, we will have another 100 yards of beach," Marinich said. "Lido Beach is back where it was initially."