Long-awaited dredging project moves closer to start date on North strand

Long-awaited dredging project moves closer to start date on North strand

CHERRY GROVE, SC (WMBF) – If everything goes as planned, the long-awaited dredging of the Cherry Grove canals could begin in November 2015 with the dredging completion date tentatively set for March 2016.

The $13 million project had to overcome some hurdles throughout recent years including a multi-year court battle to determine who owns the canals. Now the folks who live and own property along the sediment clogged canals are eagerly anticipated the dredging so they can better access the water by boat.

Bobby Scott has lived on one of the canals for about 20 years. Scott said sometimes, especially during low tide, none of his neighbors can access the water because their boats are stuck in mud and plants.

"You've got to use the tide to know what the tide is. If you don't, you get caught out and you're just stuck out there until the tide comes back in," added Scott.

The City of North Myrtle Beach told WMBF News there are two major reasons for clearing the canals:

1. The dredging will help clear the way for more recreation, including fishing.

2. The project will also provide better access for the people who use the canals.

"It would be a benefit to the homeowner, specifically in terms of property value, and help the appeal of their second home as a vacation rental," said City Spokesperson Pat Dowling.

Dowling told WMBF News early estimates show the completed project could increase some property values by as much as 40 percent.

The city is using a special assessment district to help pay for the project. This zone is made up of property owners who live or have building in areas that benefit the most from the canals.

For ten years, those property owners will pay an extra $2,400 each year ($24,000 in total) to help fund the project.

The city already spent about $1.25 million in legal and other costs so far and will spend an additional $160,000 in the future to help fund both the original dredging as well as the next maintenance dredging set for some time in 2021.?

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