The day, Dr. Pat Hardman said, seemed sometimes in doubt over the past two years.

The day, Dr. Pat Hardman said, seemed sometimes in doubt over the past two years.

But, now that the county was able to put a beach restoration project out for bid, well, that spelled a certain word for the president of the Coastal Community Association of Gulf County.

“Relief,” Hardman said, “Because you just never know.”

But with permits in hand and funding in place, finally, the Board of County Commissioners have put a “St. Joseph Peninsula Beach Renourishment Project” out for bid with a mandatory bid meeting held Tuesday afternoon.

The deadline to receive bids on the project, the cost of which has been estimated in the range of $12-$15 million, though without bids the exact cost can not be nailed down, is Friday, Oct. 13.

County administrator Don Butler said the expectation was to open bids Oct. 17 during a special meeting of the BOCC.

Michael Dombrowski, the county’s consulting engineer, said the goal is to have a notice to proceed by Nov. 27.

The hope, said Economic Development Council executive director Warren Yeager, was to have sand on the beaches sometime in December.

The project length is projected at six months.

The bid documents anticipate a completion date of May 25, 2018.

The project description is for the placement of 1.156 million cubic yards of sand obtained from the same borrow areas offshore of St. Joseph Peninsula from which well over double that amount was taken for a nourishment project some eight years ago.

The sand will be used to “renourish 5.18 miles of beach and the partial replacement of the dune,” according to the bid documents.

The work will be done in two major segments as the two state parks, Billy Joe Rish and T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula, are not participating in the project.

The project is expected to begin at the Stump Hole area of rock revetment, moving north.

The two segments are 2.10 miles, Rish Park to the peninsula state park, and 3.08 miles, from the Stump Hole to Rish Park.

Some areas along the peninsula will receive more sand than others; for example 211,000 cubic yards will be placed on the shorter segment, but 946,000, well over four times that, will be placed on the segment less than a mile longer.

The goal, Yeager had said repeatedly, is a “uniform” beach.

The project will come more than two years after Dombrowski stood before the BOCC and said that if sand was not on the beach in two years structures would begin to be impacted.

The nourishment of eight years prior was always anticipated to require additional “maintenance” within eight to 10 years.

And some of that undermining of structures occurred, with one development rendered temporarily uninhabitable earlier this year due to erosion after Tropical Storm Cindy.

Erosion has also repeatedly forced the closure of access points for vehicles to the beach.

The dominoes fell into place, some taking longer to fall than others.

After an initial failure, by three votes, eligible coastal voters approved three separate taxing units, taxing themselves, during a referendum to provide a local match for the project.

That match brought the project up on the radar of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which Hardman warned was willing to walk away from the project after the failure of the initial referendum.

But the FDEP provided a grant representing at least 35 percent of the overall cost and additional local funding is coming from a portion of bed taxes for beach nourishment as well as $2.8 million in RESTORE dollars.

Those dollars, the first-year direct allocation to the county under provisions of the RESTORE Act, have been approved by the U.S. Treasury.

After approving the plan, however, Treasury required a separate application.

Yeager said Treasury had assured the county it would process the application, already received, within 30 days.

The DEP permit was fairly quick in issuance, but the federal permit was delayed by inter-agency red tape and was received roughly 18 months after the application was filed.

The federal Corps of Engineers permit was signed by Butler this week and should be complete within 30 days, Dombrowski said.

“The last couple of years we have been trying to get to this point,” Butler said of putting the project to bid. “We are here.”