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City will share cost of fixing clog
Tampa officials refused to make the repair, blaming the state, but agree to split it.
By ALEXANDRA ZAYAS, Times Staff Writer
Published August 24, 2007
TAMPA - After more than a year of blaming the Florida Department of Transportation, the city will share the cost of cleaning a clogged drainage system that has repeatedly overflowed and caused thousands of dollars in damage to businesses in Ybor City.
City officials say that, over time, sediment from the Interstate 4 expansion project has washed into the box culvert on the 2700 block of E Seventh Avenue, filling it 3 feet deep.
The city had refused to clean it, an estimated $800,000 project, saying the Transportation Department was to blame.
After meetings between the department and the city, public works administrator Steve Daignault told the City Council Thursday that the agencies have agreed to split costs for the project, and will have the culvert cleaned by the end of this year.
"We have to acknowledge that some of the material in there got in there because of naturally occurring rain and tidal action," Daignault said. "It's not all the FDOT contractor. So when we're pressing them to get their dirt out of there, you can't claim every drop and every grain came from them."
Business owner Bart DePury thinks it's too little, too late. He says he suffered an estimated $60,000 of flood damage to his air-conditioning business on Seventh Avenue, not including the hit to his property value. He plans to take legal action.
"The city has known about this," DePury said. "When they could've done something and should've done something they didn't. I think they could've done something much sooner."