|Published:||Aug 16, 2012 6:00 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Aug 16, 2012 6:03 PM EDT|
LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The lake at Lakes Park spans 20 acres. It goes right into Estero Bay and eventually it becomes part of the water all of us swim in at our area beaches. Lee County is carving out water channels and planting vegetation to create a natural water filtration system that will clean up Lakes Park. But Jim Humpres, and others we spoke to say this project is a waste of taxpayer money.
"As a resident it is supposed to improve view and water quality and if that is the case we hope our property values go up, but I am not sure that is going to happen," he said.
The Lakes Park Restoration project was part of the Everglades Restoration Project approved by Congress in the late 1990s. The Army Corp. of Engineers headed up the project and 32 others. Lee County's Operation Manager said Lakes Park wasn't high on the priority list and never even made it to the permitting phase before the Army Corp. ran out of money. Lee County and the South Florida Water Management District then took over in July of 2008. That was 20 years after the project began. Today, the project has a pricetag of $2.4 million.
The South Florida Water Management District funds $1.2 million, DEP funds $510,000 and it costs Lee County $700,000.
The county said it spent the last four years hiring a consultant, getting the proper permits, and designing the project. Crews broke ground in February of this year.
Some people we spoke to said it's money well spent.
"You are probably going to have a better quality of fishing in there in the long run and if you like wildlife you are going to have hundreds and hundreds of wading birds, said Bill Gray.
The county had hoped to finish the project in July, but Tropical Storm Debby caused delays. They do expect to have it done by September's deadline.
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