Folly Beach County Park re-opens to moderate crowds

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) Folly Beach County Park reopened Wednesday, almost two years after Hurricane Irene washed the old park away. By the time the ceremonial ribbon was cut, lots of feet were already in the sand.

"It's good; it's awesome. We need to get a few more shells mixed into the sand, once the nature gets back to its job and replenishes it with seaweed, you know normal beach stuff because right now it's pretty clean," said Paul Huhn of West Ashley.{}

Huhn said it was always a quick trip from West Ashley to the park. He and his wife said they weren't sure this day would ever come.

"I didn't think it was going to open. When the storm hit and washed it away a couple years ago, we came down to look at it -- it was kind of wiped out. The surf was breaking back where the parking lot is," said Huhn.

The Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission estimated the project would cost $3.4 million to renourish the area and stop beach erosion. The project ended up under budget and ahead of schedule.

"If we didn't get it done in time, we were going to have to stop the project and wait until after turtle nesting season," said Tom O'Rourke, CCPRC's executive director.

Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said the park's opening means more parking for everyone trying to make it to the beach this summer.{}

"It's a very important beach because it's another life-guarded swimming area, for all the young people and the young families that bring their children out here," said Goodwin.{}

It took two months for a terminal groin to be built at the end of the park to help stop the eroding beach.{}

"By intercepting some of that sand and holding it in place, we'll be able to stabilize the park section of the beach," said Tim Kana, the president of Coastal Science Engineering.