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Mudhole no more: Silt dredging project kicks off at Longwood Park

POSTED: March 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Robin Michener Nathan/The Times

Local officials gathered for the Longwood Cove DredgeFest '08 groundbreaking on Wednesday.

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After years of planning, local and federal officials kicked off the dredging of Longwood Cove in a celebration they dubbed "DredgeFest ’08."

Local officials from various Gainesville departments as well as current and former members of the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority gathered Wednesday in a muddy hole off Longwood Park, envisioning its water-filled future.

Coincidentally, the future of the mudhole is a return to its pre-
development past. For the next six to eight months, 125,000 cubic yards of silt will be removed from the cove, and measures will be taken to prevent further erosion problems.

U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal spoke at the ceremony, expressing his pride in the start of the silt removal process at the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.

"I suppose if this is an earmark, then I’m just proud to have an earmark of this nature," said Deal.

Deal said the event, more than two years in the making, was an example of how local, state and federal governments could work together for positive results.

The low lake levels kept the cost of dredging lower than expected. The project has been expanded to dredge 125,000 cubic yards. The original plan was 50,000 cubic yards. The Lake Lanier project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers jokingly congratulated himself for the project.

"I’m the one that drained the lake down to this level," said Jonathan Davis.

It will cost $2.3 million to remove the silt, build a retaining wall and install an extension of the greenway that runs into the park from downtown Gainesville.

Originally, the city planned to spend $2 million, donated from the Lake Lanier Islands Development Authority. The rest of the money will come from "other available project funds," said Paul Krippner, project manager in the construction services division of Gainesville’s Public Utilities’ department.

The silt will be removed in two ways: the silt above the current lake level will be removed by regular excavators, and that below the water will be removed using a barge with clamshell buckets.


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