Alyxandrea Gorgone, of Fort Pierce, spends a windy afternoon with her friends Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at Dollman Park Beachside in St. Lucie County. The beach, suffering from erosion, is one of several St. Lucie County beaches denied $12 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funding for Hurricane Irma repairs. (Photo: LEAH VOSS/TCPALM)

FL - Should St. Lucie County spend millions to save millions on beach project?

In the minute or so it takes you to read today’s installment, some $7 worth of sand will wash away from St. Lucie County beaches.

No big deal, right? Seven bucks won't break anyone’s bank. But that’s per minute. Multiply it by 60 minutes on the hour, 24 hours per day.

That’s roughly $10,000 worth of lost sand daily. If St. Lucie County is to have nice beaches — and the economic benefits they provide — those grains must be replaced.

The big question, of course, is who pays.

More: St. Lucie County needs more easements to lower erosion costs

More: Can we afford to keep our beaches from washing away? | Gil Smart

Over the next 50 years, renourishing the shoreline from Nomandy Beach to the Martin County line is expected to cost a staggering $85 million. The first $22.8 million phase is scheduled to kick off in 2022, and St. Lucie County has to cough up its share by July 2021 — 18 months from now.

Earlier this year it looked as if the county might have to pay $14.8 million for that first phase, after the Federal Emergency Management Agency decided the project was already getting federal dollars from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and didn't need FEMA funds.

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