Pass-a-Grille Beach re-nourishment to begin in 2021

More sand will be pumped onto Pass-a-Grille Beach to combat coastal erosion.

Locals describe it as sugar sand paradise, but the beach has lost thousands of cubic yards of sand over the years due to high tides and waves that eat away at the shoreline. 

The beach re-nourishment project, which Pinellas County commissioners unanimously approved Thursday, will add more sand to make the existing beach wider.

Federal, state, and local governments will divide the $5 million price tag for the project. Pinellas County is responsible for just under $1 million.

Tourism tax dollars are expected to cover the county's share in order to avoid using money from local taxpayers. 

"When you get into the impact of our beaches, it is major, not just to protect the shoreline, but also to protect the economy of the state of Florida," said Bruno Falkenstein, who owns the Hurricane Restaurant.

Falkenstein, like many local business owners, rely on the beach to attract visitors to his restaurant

"Without it, nice people wouldn't come out here and visit," he said.

Beaches also protect low-lying areas as a natural source for storm protection.

"It's very important," said Falkenstein.

The county expects to begin pumping sand onto the beach by 2021. The last time it did it was in 2014.