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Guest Op/Ed: Wares Creek Boondoggle

Every citizen of Manatee County, especially those in the City of Bradenton, should be completely outraged at the debacle the Wares Creek dredging project has become.

For four decades, city/county officials and community leaders worked very hard to restore Wares Creek to a navigable, aesthetic waterway with a primary purpose of flood control.

Now, at this late date with dredging to begin in weeks, we find that all we will be getting for our millions of dollars is a  narrow four-block channel, sandwiched between ugly, smelly mudflats... an extremely expensive glorified ditch: At $9 million!

What went wrong with the dream? The Army Corps of Engineers, the primary sponsor, says the city and county were aware of the pitiful scope of the project as far back as 2008 or even 2004. Why, then did local officials continue to mislead us on the end results, which fall short of expectations?

Everyone was led to believe that about 200,000 cubic yards of mud would be removed, Now at the eleventh hour, we learn it's only a fraction of that, about 37,000 yards. Only a drop in the proverbial bucket!

What' s this "Bandaide" costing us? For starters, there's the $3.5 million for dredging this small section of Wares Creek. Then, there's the $5.7 million the county paid for a muck-drying parcel that sold a few years ago for $1 million with a viable building (City Hall) on it and the estimated $15 to $18 million to solve the real problem, the silt coming in from the county area to the south.

Is it too late to stop this boondoggle? Is it too late for city/county elected officials and employees to acknowledge their obvious failings? Is it time for resignations? Is it time to quit wasting tax dollars? Is it time to wake up?

It's never too late!

Bill Evers



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