Residents respond to Big Pass dredging plan

Sarasota, Florida -- The Army Corps of Engineers says South Lido Key's erosion problem is so severe it sits vulnerable to another storm, and the agency has a $120 million plan to help.

The Army Corps of Engineers presented its plan to dredge Big Pass between Lido Key and Siesta Key to the public Wednesday at Sarasota City Hall.

Click here to read the Army Corps of Engineers' dredging plan for Big Pass.

The Corps' 50-year project would dredge more than 6 million cubic yards of sand and add three groins along the beach. But some Siesta Key residents are concerned about the impact to their beach.

"Siesta Key has never in its history been renourished. Big Pass has never been dredged that concerns me," said Siesta Key resident Tony Ramus.

Lido Key residents who spoke at the meeting say they are desperate for a solution to the erosion.

"We're not looking to hurt Siesta. But there's an economic impact to us. We have two buildings at the end of the key that are practically in the water now ... something has got to be done fairly quickly," said Carl Shoffstall, president of the Lido Key Homeowners Association.

Milan Mora, project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, says Lido Key cannot withstand another direct storm.

"If a storm hits Lido Key it doesn't have the level of protection right now. A big storm hits Lido Key there will be a lot of damage to the infrastructure."

Mora says the first phase of the project costs $18 million and is one to two years away, and it needs local and congressional approval and funding.


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