NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – After years of court proceedings, funding questions and back and forth between the city and Cherry Grove property owners, the dredges are here and digging is ready to start.
Though some property owners weren't exactly thrilled about having to contribute to the $16 million project - having to pay upwards of $2,400 a year for up to 10 years - city spokesman Pat Dowling said the arrival of the dredges is really opening eyes.
"People are just glad it's going to happen and now that they see the proof of the dredges here, they are actually beginning to believe it," he said.
Though the pipeline and framework for the project was in place, Dowling said the dredges are actually what will most benefit to this project.
"These are the, sort of the, crowns of the project," Dowling said. "With them, we can actually dredge."
Finally seeing the dredge in front of him, Dowling was able to point out exactly what it's going to do.
"Well, if you can see the orange part of the dredge in the front that is actually part of an arm that will move backwards and forwards and up and down, and it will essentially grind out and suck up a 20-foot wide by three-and-a-half-foot deep channel," he said.
Dowling added this will ensure people won't get trapped if they take their boat out at the wrong time.
"These are not navigable waterways at low tide. It's pretty much a mud flat," he said. "And if they are left much longer, they are going to convert to marsh and you'll run into significant environmental obstacles to getting them dredged."
Dowling said as long as he's known, property owners have been coming to the city for help. It's help they've been able to give, with much appreciated patience from the community.
"And it's great to have it done and now is the time to do it," he said.
According to Dowling, property owners will start seeing improvements by November and it is expected the dredging will continue through March.
According to a Nov. 5 schedule released by the City of North Myrtle Beach, crews will dredge the following dates and locations:
- Nov. 5 through 7 between 42nd and 43rd avenues North
- Nov. 8 through 10 between 43rd Avenue North and Rice Circle
- Nov. 11 through 13 between 44th and 45th avenues North
- Nov. 13 through 19 between 45th and 46th avenues North
- Nov. 5 through 13 in the channel that runs perpendicular to above avenues