Bonita springs neighbors nervous about leftover Irma debris with rainy season arriving

Debris from Hurricane Irma are clogging up a creek in Bonita Springs, but neighbors are used to it.

City officials were notified about the problem last month, but nothing has been done to clean up the mess.

“I’d like to say welcome back…WINK News seems to be far more concerned about my issue than Bonita Springs,” said neighbor Jennifer Semro.

Semro’s backyard looks about the same since WINK News first saw it about a month ago. Debris litter Oak Creek, clogging the flow of water to the Imperial River. It’s been like this since Irma hit, and now rainy season has circled back around.

“If lightning hits it with all the shrubs laying here waiting to ignite, the neighborhood will go,” Semro said.

She’s been in contact with city hall, trying to figure out who’s responsible for the cleanup.

South Florida Water Management District offered to start the project, but only has about $70,000 in funding to contribute. Now, the city has to decide how to foot the rest of the money, which could cost upwards of $750,000.

“We’re gonna start the project, we’re gonna get started on it. It’s something that’s important to do. We’re entering summer workshop budget now so this will absolutely be on our priority list,” said Mayor Peter Simmons.

Simmons says Semro never contacted city hall about the issue, but Semro says she has the emails to prove that’s not the case. Semro adds that all the back and forth is just a waste of time. She wants her backyard cleaned up so she can keep her pets and her neighborhood safe.

“I’m concerned we’re into alligator mating season and I didn’t know this, but I’m told they can go up over a fence,” Semro said.

The water management district doesn’t have a time table on when they can get the project started. They still need to secure a contractor, get permits and find out how to get across the creek without trespassing.

Reporter:Olivia Mancino
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