Sandbridge residents and visitors will soon get a wider beach, thanks to legislation adopted today by the U.S. House and Senate.
The $1 trillion omnibus bill passed today, which avoided a shutdown of the federal government, included language that allows the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Virginia Beach to replenish the eroding Sandbridge beach. The bill resolves a dispute over whether the corps can accept disproportionate money from Virginia Beach to perform the beach widening.
The project is expected to start sometime next year.
Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. and City Councilmember Barbara M. Henley have been working closely with the city’s congressional delegation, especially Sen. Mark Warner and Rep. Scott Rigell, to secure Congress’ approval.
“We are delighted that our friends in Washington were able to get Virginia Beach residents the help we needed to maintain our beaches,” Mayor Sessoms said. “I especially want to thank Senator Warner and Congressman Rigell for their extra efforts to help Sandbridge.”
Funding for the sand replenishment will not come from the federal government. Instead, Sandbridge residents and property owners will pay for the project themselves through extra taxes in the Sandbridge Special Service District, as well as the Sandbridge Tax Increment Financing District. Until the legislation was passed, the Corps of Engineers could only accept 35 percent of the money from the city to perform the beach replenishment.
“With federal dollars stretched as they are, it makes absolute sense for us to step up and pay for the beach widening,” Mayor Sessoms said. “This is a win for Sandbridge property owners and visitors and a win for the federal government.”
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