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Beach businesses don't expect summer renourishment projects to threaten economy

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Local businesses say they don’t expect the three summer beach renourishment projects to take a toll on the tourism economy there.

Starting mid-May, 1,000 feet of beach in Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island will be closed at a time as dredging company Great Lakes Dredge & Dock pulls sand from the bottom of the ocean and brings it to the beaches to build their resiliency. 

Bethany and Fenwick Island’s Tidepool Toys and Games Owner Sandy Smyth says he appreciates the protection of a rebuilt beach. Though he doesn't anticipate it will have a huge impact on his business, he still wishes it came at a different time.

“This is not the right time to pump the beach,” Smyth said. “It’s a double-edged sword. It can be good for business, but we also look at it, you know, one good storm and it could wash away."

Smyth says from his experience, pumped sand doesn't seem to last too long on a beach and it can cause a steep shore break.

The Bethany-Fenwick Area Chamber of Commerce has been working to educate the beach businesses about what will happen this summer. Executive Director Lauren Weaver says the businesses have seen beach renourishment happen in summer before and they understand the need.

“They’re oceanfront businesses. They understand what happens. It’s not the entire beach shutting down – it’s small portions of the beach closed and it moves very quickly,” Weaver said.

She continued, "It's one of those necessary evils that happens and the businesses have been through this before."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not yet given an exact start date, but says work starts in Bethany in mid-May before moving to South Bethany and Fenwick Island in June and July.

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