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Date of Issue: February 09, 2006

No answers on beach renourishment future

Nearly two months after Goodloe Marine halted the Island's beach renourishment project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still has no idea when the project will resume, what to do with the pipes and equipment currently clogging the beach south of the Manatee Public Beach, or even if Goodloe will be allowed to continue the project.

That's the word from Holmes Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore following her conference call Monday, Feb. 6, with Corps representative Charles Stevens, Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie and Manatee County Ecosystems Administrator Charlie Hunsicker.

Whitmore said she and Chappie expressed concern about the safety issue of pipes remaining on the beach and the economic impact on tourist rentals because of the spoiled beach.

Whitmore said Stevens was the Corps chief spokesperson during the call, but he didn't have much to say.

"He said he is acutely aware of our issues and would take our concerns to his supervisor this Thursday and discuss them," she said.

That's the same story Whitmore and Chappie have been hearing since early January, when the Corps said it would have an announcement at any time about the future of the project.

"I told him that in all my years of politics, I've gotten the most phone calls about this issue. Everybody here is looking to us for answers. We're on the hot seat, not them."

Those words, however, appear to be like silent raindrops to the Corps.

"He couldn't comment on any of our questions, just that he'd take up the issue with his boss, but we've been hearing that story the past two months. He said he wasn't authorized to say any more," Whitmore said.

"I've requested removal of the pipes and equipment if the project is not going to resume in the next few weeks, "she said, "and he said he'd get back to me as soon as he got an answer."