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Water-Related News

Judge clears way for dredging to alleviate U.S. 41 flooding

A long-awaited dredging project to alleviate flooding along U.S. 41 could soon proceed after a circuit judge granted the city and Sarasota County access to submerged land near the Ritz-Carlton claimed by SRQUS LLC. The company has blocked the dredging project for years over concerns it will tarnish water quality and forever block the public from one of downtown's few remaining access points to the bay.

But Circuit Judge Rochelle Curley ruled last week that the company doesn't, in fact, own the ditch segment eyed by the city and county and that the government bodies rightly acquired the easement needed to complete the project.

Both governments are involved because Sarasota County builds and maintains drainage projects for the city of Sarasota.

The order was signed Jan. 13, and SRQUS has 30 days in which to file an appeal. If it doesn't, the project can proceed.

“We will be appealing that decision, very likely,” said Erika Ginsberg-Klemmt, who owns SRQUS along with her husband, Achim. The couple had bought the underwater property in dispute five years ago with plans to turn it into a mooring field for up to nine boats.