Folly Beach County Park dodges bullet with Alberto

Folly Beach Park still closed after Hurricane Irene (Chris Hauff/WCIV)

By Sonya

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) -- Folly Beach County Park can't take much more pounding from Mother Nature.

The park dodged a bullet with Tropical Storm Alberto, which stayed well offshore from the Lowcountry.

"Most of the dunes are gone so when we get a large tide that is associated with the storm we had yesterday and today, the area just really floods right now," Folly Beach County Park manager, Eric Stewart said. "There are no more dunes to really erode."

After damage from Hurricane Irene closed down the park last August, park officials admit they are concerned what this hurricane season could bring.

"Anytime you have a sensitive environment like this on a barrier island especially on the edge of it, any storm could be the next one to take out even more stuff," Stewart said.

But, Mayor Tim Goodwin is doing all that he can to get the park back open.

"For the 2013 budget, we have the money in for the engineering work and pre-construction work and we are hoping to somehow get the construction dollars into that budget," Goodwin said. "If not, it would be to 2014, that pushes you another eight, nine, or ten months down the road."

But, the city is also looking into ways this can be prevented in the future.

"If there is anything with new technology what we can do going forward in the future and once we build a beach back what can we do to maybe keep it from happening 8 or 9 years to stretch it out to 20 or 25 years," Goodwin said.

The park remains closed until further notice, so in the meantime, people will have to enjoy other parts of Folly Beach.

"This is some good public beach access and unfortunately this summer people don't have access to it," Stewart said. "There are 415 parking spaces at one time, so those people will have to find other places to go on the island if they come out here and that's having a big impact on other sections of Folly Beach, it's a lot more crowded this summer."

The park could re-open as early as next spring.