MANATEE -- An abandoned and derelict floating house will soon be removed from the Manatee River, where it rests between spans of the Interstate 75 bridge.
Manatee County commissioners Tuesday approved up to $20,000 to remove the “Dreammaker,” which was set adrift from moorings near the bridge months ago, said Nick Azzara, a county spokesman.
“This has become a safety hazard, so it’s incumbent on local government to intervene,” Azzara said.
Removal will begin immediately, probably accomplished by Quality Marine Construction of Palmetto, which submitted the lowest removal bid of $14,750, Azzara added.
Since the story was first reported, some taxpayers have asked why the owners of the structure aren’t being charged to remove it.
Azzara indicated that all attempts to get the owners to remove the floating house have failed and that county officials now believe that suing them would prove fruitless.
“We have tried to contact the owners many times about this and have not been successful,” Azzara said. “We feel it would cost more to litigate this property than the property is worth.”
But all hope is not lost that taxpayers could get a break on Dreammaker.
“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.”
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 in the natural resources department. The owners never came back.