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Date of Issue: August 11, 2010

Final Holmes Beach dredge project a ‘bear’

A canal off South Harbor Drive in Holmes Beach gets sand and silt pumped out to allow for navigation. DredgeMonster expects the final 3,200 cubic yards of bottom materials to be removed in one week. Islander Photo: Nick Walter

The last of 31 Holmes Beach dredging projects is a week from completion. And this one, as DredgeMonster owner Paul Dimariano said, is a “bear.”

DredgeMonster is clearing 3,200-cubic yards of grass, sand and silt from a canal in the neighborhood near St. Bernard Catholic Church along South Harbor Drive. The canal, labeled as HB-21, sinks into the open eastern shoreline of Anna Maria Island like a pool-table pocket, and so is a mouth for seagrasses and leaves that enter from the Intracoastal Waterway.

The canal has proven to be possibly the nastiest of a series of projects that began in 2003 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a city permit to dredge 48,297 cubic yards of material from the city’s canals.

“This canal might be one of the shallowest canals on the Island,” Holmes Beach building inspector Bob Shaffer said. “It needed it bad.”

DiMariano said Piedroba Marine Construction was not able to complete all canals scheduled for dredging this year, so the city allowed the company to subcontract the final canal, HB-21, to DredgeMonster.

“In my opinion,” DiMariano said, “that company didn’t want to handle it because they knew it would be a bear.”

Holmes Beach Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said the completing of the dredging puts the city in good financial shape.

“Next year we won’t have to worry about funding dredging projects,” he said. “So we can get to something else on our long list of improvements.”

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