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Date of Issue: April 06, 2006

Goodloe: We're not renourishment bad guy

The Millennium dredge owned by Goodloe Marine of Apollo Beach returned to its mooring station off Bayfront Park where a family enjoyed the beach in Anna Maria last week in preparation for the planned resumption of the beach renourishment project. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin

Ben Goodloe of Goodloe Marine said his company's work crews are already gearing up for a resumption of the beach renourishment project by Friday, April 7.

"We're shooting for April 7," said Goodloe. "We'll be working this week to get the pipeline up and running. If the weather holds, we should be OK."

And weather has been a key factor in the entire renourishment project, which began in early July but was plagued by numerous hurricanes and summer storms.

While hurricanes and other storms interfered with the project from July to November, Goodloe said the regularity of winter storms and cold fronts passing through Florida that would certainly interrupt the operation further prompted the company to call a halt for winter.

The renourishment work was halted in December, he said, because the job "was never designed for winter work.

"It was just going to be unsafe to continue working," he added. "Our primary concern had to be a safe work place where we could do a good job."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agreed with that decision and Goodloe even offered last November to remove the pipes already on the beach for the winter months.

Originally, he said, the Corps did not want the pipes taken off the beach, then was unable to find a suitable storage area for the pipes and equipment.

"We've been made out to be the bad guys, but we've been trying to get the Corps to cooperate with us all along," he said.

Goodloe kept asking for a staging area and received no response from the Corps.

Part of the problem, reasoned Goodloe, could be that the Anna Maria Island beach renourishment project is a county job using Federal Emergency Management Agency funds with the Corps in control. That can often lead to some political in-fighting with Goodloe Marine caught in the middle, he said.

But the project is on pace to resume this week, he added, noting that generally, the weather along Florida's Gulf Coast in April and May is fairly benevolent.

"Let's pray this weather holds. If it cooperates, we'll get this job done," he said.

Goodloe also said that contrary to Corps online records, his company has already been paid $2.7 million of the $4.9 million contract. The renourishment effort is already 70 percent complete, he said, with just about 4,000 more feet of beach to be renourished. The project had reached 19th Street North in Bradenton Beach before halting for the winter.

The company will also look at renourished areas that may have been eroded by the numerous winter storms and shore those areas up with more sand if needed.