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Final funding now in place to complete Wares Creek | News

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Final funding now in place to complete Wares Creek
News, Public Spaces
Final funding now in place to complete Wares Creek

Manatee, Florida -- Only two months after local officials traveled to Washington D.C. to request additional federal funding for Wares Creek, the final piece of federal funding has been secured and the flood relief project will now be completed.

Manatee County Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker today announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) was recently allocated an additional $12 million requested as part of the Manatee County Commission’s federal legislative package. The additional funding will enable the Corps to contract work to complete the long-awaited project along the creek bed from 9th Avenue to Cortez Road in Bradenton.

Phase I of the project, a dredging and deepening of the creek bed between Manatee Avenue and 9th Avenue was completed last fall. But the next and longest area of the flood control project was delayed without additional funding. During Phase I, the Jacksonville District of the USACOE recalculated the total construction cost and realized an additional cost of $12 million would be required to complete the widening of the creek from 9th Avenue to Cortez Road.

Hunsicker said the final piece of federal funding would not have been possible without the persistent efforts of the Manatee County Commission and without help from Congressman Vern Buchanan, Florida Governor Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, .

“In January, the County began a targeted outreach strategy with key Congressional officials highlighting the importance of the request,” Hunsicker said. “We understood the long odds of gaining approval of an additional $12 million in light of the federal budget sequestration, projected cuts in Corps funding, and the need for unanticipated aid for natural disasters nationwide.”

But persistence paid off.

In March Commissioners Larry Bustle and Vanessa Baugh and Hunsicker traveled to Washington and met with Congressman Vern Buchanan and representatives of the offices of Governor Rick Scott and staff from the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.  During the meetings, the Commissioners discussed the funding request and the importance of the project. Weeks later, Army Corps Headquarters gave its approval to the Jacksonville office to proceed with the project beginning in Fiscal Year 2013.
With the final funding secured, Hunsicker thinks the Corps could award a bid for the final section of the project by August and work could begin by the end of 2013.

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