This Ware’s Creek dredging project just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?
Governments have risen and fallen, civilizations have arrived and vanished, and wars have been fought and lost in the time it’s taken to close this deal and start digging.
It was going to start in June.
Now it’s August.
Then there are some minor details that have come to light of late.
Like finding out that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will only be dredging 37,000 cubic yards of mud, silt and who knows whatever else that has clogged Ware’s Creek for years and years.
It’s not remotely close to what Manatee County government officials had anticipated.
Try 200,000 cubic yards.
That’s a difference of almost 160,000 cubic yards of slop.
You know the old expression: Close enough for government work?
Don’t think that’s going to fly here.
Then there’s this business about 25-foot setbacks.
That’s the distance from seawalls on both sides of Ware’s Creek from which dredging will take place.
It means the new channel will be more narrow than officials -- and the public -- had expected.
As a former Ware’s Creek resident for eight years, my perception during this ordeal was eventually the whole channel was going to be scooped out.
If not seawall to seawall, then close to it.
Exactly how much bang are we getting for our taxpayer bucks anyway?
Less than advertised apparently.
That county officials say they’re just finding out about these figures is puzzling.
This is Charlie Hunsicker’s area of expertise as the county’s respected director of natural resources.
Given the amount of planning, prodding and patience involved in this high-profile project, you’d think county officials would have this data first and foremost.
The Corps says the numbers have been agreed to and are all there in black and white.
On the other hand, so many regulatory agencies -- local, state, federal -- have had their two cents in this task, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised at the confusion.
Especially where it concerns the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Their assertion that the county has been involved in all decisions since the project’s inception almost 30 years ago can be taken with a grain of salt.
The Corps calls the shots.
Historically inscrutable, this governmental agency operates by its own rules and at its own glacial pace.
That raises another concern by county officials.
The narrow dredging channel means some mud flats that have been a chronic eyesore at low tide on both banks of Ware’s Creek will remain so.
The Corps doesn’t do pretty.
This is a flood control project, something vital to the safety and quality of life for the surrounding neighborhoods.
That’s the bottom line.
Now if they would just get this blasted thing started and finish it.
Hopefully in our lifetime.
Mannix On Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL. 34206 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a phone number for verification purposes.