NAPLES, Fla. — Tuesday, Collier County Board of Commissioners approved a long-range budget plan request application for future beach renourishment projects.
The application will go to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and the county's main request is for future projects to promote tourism.
Collier County continues to rebuild its beaches and berms one year after Ian, and taking extra precautions.
Collier County is often known for its pristine beaches; however, since Hurricane Ian devastated most of Southwest Florida almost one year ago, counties are still rebuilding and repairing.
“The beaches are the number one reason why people do come to visit us,” said Sandra Rios, PR & Communications Manager of Collier County Tourism Division.
Tourism is the economic engine of Southwest Florida, even after Ian damaged the shores. Rios says the goal was always to quickly recover.
According to Rios, Collier County saw 1.7 million visitors last year, which brought in $2.9 billion to the area despite the aftermath of a major natural disaster.
To keep these beaches beautiful and restore what was damaged, the county is seeking extra funding.
Andrew Miller, Coastal Zone Manager for Collier County, says although there was significant damage after Ian, there was still a lot of good sand left.
“If we have another couple of storms between now and next fall, we may be in store for another emergency project but knock on wood that’s not going to happen," said Miller.
To help with the costs of future berm and beach projects, Miller and his team are applying for a long-range budget plan request from the state to get reimbursements for possible future projects. These projects will promote tourism and the county's economy.
Miller says Collier County now waits to see what money the state will reimburse for future projects and also how Collier ranks among other counties.