City Committed to Lauderdale Dredging Plan June 9, 2014

A plan by the Florida Inland Navigation District which hopes to begin dredging the Intracoastal Waterway channel this fall from the 17th Street Causeway to about a mile north of the Las Olas Boulevard Bridge should proceed on schedule, said Fort Lauderdale city commissioners in response to a proposal that the city could save millions by having the private operators who will benefit from planned dredging work foot the bill, it was reported May 26 in the Fort 98-366 Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. “It’s too big an issue for our marine industry not to remain committed to doing this,” Commissioner Bruce Roberts said.

The article noted it will cost about $11 million to connect the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, the Hall of Fame Marina and the city-owned Las Olas Marina to the deeper channel, and to dredge the Las Olas Marina A30-327 basin. The city had planned to fund the project with grants and redevelopment dollars, but a question was raised why the city should pay for work benefiting private operators. One estimate said the city could save $6.5 million that could be used on other beach projects.

Commissioners in the article said the channel-dredging project was dependent on past city commitments to the industry and they did not want to take a chance of jeopardizing the project. They also said there may be a portion of the work the city could consider removing, the $3.6 million needed to dredge the basin of the Las Olas Marina needed to accommodate mega yachts and a marina expansion. The city has not yet identified a way of making the expansion financially feasible. As noted in the related article on Marine Industry Day, marine industry proponents pointed out the importance of adding dockage for the larger yachts and intent to work with city officials to accelerate and move this project forward.

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