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Curlew Creek complaints addressed

Residents concerned with drainage and flooding problems can question state, county and water district representatives.

By LEON M. TUCKER

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 22, 2001


Residents concerned with drainage and flooding problems can question state, county and water district representatives.

DUNEDIN -- Residents along Curlew Creek will have a chance to ask questions about flooding and erosion problems at a symposium today at the Dunedin Public Library.

Dunedin officials, as well as representatives from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Pinellas County and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, will address concerns from 4 until 8 p.m. at the library at 223 Douglas Ave.

"We need to see the interest and the questions people are asking to see what we need to do to address Curlew Creek as a whole," said Dunedin Vice Mayor Deborah Kynes, who is also a vice chairman of the Curlew Creek Task Force. "We are accomplishing a cooperative effort among multijurisdictions to achieve a goal, and that's a big thing."

Sponsored by the task force, the event was organized at the request of residents who wanted to know what can be done to fix drainage problems in their neighborhood.

"People were complaining about drainage and flooding issues so we decided we need to take a multijurisdictional approach," said Karen Seel, Pinellas County commissioner and leader of the Curlew Creek Task Force. "This is a good way of trying to educate the public, invite their continued participation and to show we care, that we are trying to address their concerns."

The problems stem from heavy silt washing downstream and collecting at the mouth of the creek in Dunedin. The county and city have made repairs along the basin, but the goal of the task force is to find a solution that stabilizes the entire creek from Countryside to the Gulf of Mexico.

Dunedin, the county and Swiftmud are working to find solutions to flooding along the creek and will have to conduct a study of the basin to see what needs to be done.

The county is already conducting a $170,000 study on the portion of the creek between State Road 580 and Belcher Road. The task force has requested the study be expanded to review the entire creek and include water quality surveys, which county officials say would cost an additional $230,000.

"You can't just go into Dunedin and solve their problems without looking at the issues upstream and how they affect the residents downstream," said Ronnie Duncan, chairman of the Pinellas-Anclote Basin board of Swiftmud. "We felt it was terribly important to get the people whose property was being affected to the table."

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