MANATEE — Manatee County commissioners today approved spending up to $20,000 to remove an abandoned and derelict floating house that has been sitting for months in the Manatee River between spans of the Interstate 75 bridge in Ellenton.
Named Dreammaker, the house, which does not have any propulsion of its own, was set adrift by storms after being moored near the bridge.
On Oct. 5, Dreammaker was posted by county code enforcement for removal, giving its owners five days to rescue it, said Alan Lai Hipp, Manatee County’s marine resources coordinator.
The owners never came for the boat in the time allowed.
“This has become a safety hazard so it’s incumbent on local government to intervene,” said Nick Azzara, a county spokesman, who added that the county would begin removal immediately, probably using Quality Marine Construction of Palmetto, which submitted the lowest bid of $14,750.
Recovering the cost of removal from the owners of the house may be difficult since such floating houses often do not have traditional deeds, county officials have said.
But local taxpayers could find help from another source.
“There is a hope that the county will be reimbursed through West Coast Inland Navigation District funds.” Azzara said. “That district funds a lot of the canal and dredge improvements and often pays to improve channels where there is an obstruction that is a hazard to navigation.”