NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation has a big dream to restore old Pontchartrain Beach and a short time to make it a reality.
The foundation purchased an option to buy 17,000 tons of white sand but now must raise the money to put it where it can be enjoyed. He's been involved with the effort to restore Lake Pontchartrain for decades, and the 50-foot-tall pile of white sand has Carlton Dufrechou acting like a kid in a candy store.
"C'mon it's fun," Dufrechou shouted, as he climbed the pile of sand.
Dufrechou is touting one of the most ambitious projects in years for the foundation. They have landed the rights to buy the sugary white sand recently offloaded on the industrial canal.
"We have a tremendous resource. The one thing we're missing is the beach," said Dufrechou.
The goal is to to replenish a 300-yard stretch of sand at the old Pontchartrain Beach amusement park site closed for more than 30 years.
"The sand is almost identical to the sand on Pontchartrain Beach now, which is similar to Florida," said John Lopez, with the foundation.
It is a dream the foundation has had for 10 years in it's mission to get more people to enjoy the cleaner lake. The sand became available due to the delay in the Helis drilling project on the North Shore. The sand was to be used for the now-stalled drilling process, and the foundation now has an option to purchase it for a lot less than what was once envisioned.
"It's less than half - it's significant savings," said Dwight Williams, the executive director of the foundation.
But getting all the sand to the beach is no gimme, and the foundation is working with a tight time frame. The foundation has until the end of next month to move the sand.
"If we can't raise the $40,000 by the end of April we will lose that option and the ability to acquire this sand," said Dufrechou.
They're confident they will meet their goal and they hope thousands will get to join in.
The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation hopes to sponsor a day at the newly restored beach in late summer. They are also working on a long-term design plan that might include restroom facilities and address safety issues at the beach site.