NORTH NAPLES, Fla - A popular North Naples beach is getting a facelift just in time for the tourist season.
Emergency beach renourishment began Wednesday on Vanderbilt Beach between the Ritz Carlton and La Playa Beach Resort.
For several months, business owners on Vanderbilt Beach have asked Collier County Commissioners for help with severe beach erosion.
Over the last few year, mother nature has taken a toll, washing away more than half the beach.
"While taking a walk at high tide it is very narrow, six maybe eight feet. People are literally on top of each other," says Michael Noonan, a frequent visitor from Boston.
This year, the Vanderbilt Beach Resort even had to cancel a volleyball tournament because the nets were wider than the beach.
"Tourists, when they come to our hotel and the other hotels on the beach, the main reason they're coming is because of the beach, so without a beach to provide there's no reason to come to Vanderbilt," says Vanderbilt Beach Resort manager Mick Moore.
But help is on the way thanks to tourist tax dollars. Crews started spreading sand along a 4,000 foot stretch of beach. But, the $625,000 emergency project isn't designed to be a permanent fix.
"They can put sand on the beach, but not in the water. It's really only designed to help the beach for another year," says Moore.
Next year, a full $15 million project will extend the beach out a hundred feet. But, in the short term, business owners and beachgoers are happy some action is being taken.
"I think it is needed because this is such a beautiful beach. It would a big detriment to the town to lose this beach and i can't imagine what they would lose in revenue with tourists not coming to this beach," says Noonan.
The project will take about a month to complete, weather permitting. The equipment will then be moved south to fix erosion on Naples Beach. That project is also expected to take a month.