CHERRY GROVE, SC (WMBF) - The Cherry Grove dredging project is cleared to begin and permits have been secured, according to State Representative Tracy Edge.
In an email, Rep. Edge said, "The long awaited dredging project in Cherry Grove is clear to start after all state and federal permits have been secured."
The project was exempted from DHEC state permits that had delayed the project thanks to a legislation pushed through by Edge in 2012.
Edge says the federal permits from the Army Corp. of Engineers were issued on July 11, allowing the project to begin in late 2014, as soon as bids and additional funding are located.
The $2 million in funding for the project attained so far was from the SC budget. "I have secured millions of dollars for Grand Strand projects as one of the House' chief budget writers, but this one is very important for the city residents and tourists. The state dollars for the project were critical because they are the only funding allocated for the project so far."
"My father, former Mayor Robert Edge was involved in the last dredging of the channels and I'm proud to have played a role in cleaning them out for fishing and boating again," Edge added.
The City of North Myrtle Beach will schedule public meetings during which project details will be explained and public input received, says city spokesman Pat Dowling.
"We are excited to receive this important final authorization for this dredging project," said North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley, "and we appreciate the nine years of hard work invested by Council Members, staff, and citizens to reach this milestone. Of course, today's achievement would not have been realized without the help of the Horry Legislative Delegation and the willingness of environmental regulatory agencies to craft a mitigation program that will offset any environmental impact that may accrue from implementation of the project. A lot of hard work still lies ahead of us but today is a happy day for North Myrtle Beach."