If you’ve been looking to purchase a waterfront home in the Tampa Bay area, then you may have heard about an ongoing canal dredging effort that has been talked about by the City of Tampa for many years. It looks like Waterfront Residents in the South Tampa areas, inlcuding Beach Park, Sunset Park and Davis Islands may get what they’ve been waiting for!
While prices are coming down in these waterfront communities, the value is sure to go up once the dredging effort begins. Now may be the best time to get in the market if you’ve been considering a home on the water. You may not be able to get a 30′ boat down the canals now, but a smaller boat at high tide is still possible, even without the dredging.
Residents of about 300 homes on 12 South Tampa area canals are waiting to see what will happen with the slow-moving city project, expected to dredge canals by 2010.
Now in its design phase, city stormwater officials are expecting to bid the project out early next year. By next spring, homeowners will get a chance to vote on whether their canals will participate.
Sixty percent of homes on a canal need to vote for the dredge for the canal to be included. The city project would dredge 5 feet deep and 20 feet wide into canals at low tide.
City stormwater director Chuck Walter compares the dredge to the government plowing streets for snow, and leaving residents to clear their sidewalks and yards.
Early estimates say residents would have to pay a special tax assessment of $8,000 for that down-the-middle dredge, plus whatever it costs to dredge their own docks, if they elect to do so.
The city will supplement that money with a $1.3-million federal grant and $1-million from the water management district.
Recently a resident of South Tampa said that even though she and her neighbors paid for their own dredge, the city should pay to keep her canal clear. It’s the city’s stormwater runoff that’s causing the problem, she said.
But Walter says the city will meet its responsibility with the one-time environmental dredge. Keeping the canals navigable is up to the residents, he said. The city doesn’t have to keep the canals clear enough for boats.
Walter said that once the city starts a dredging maintenance program — which would happen maybe two years after the dredge — residents will have to pay for it themselves.
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