BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) – County officials are making good use of some grant money to get rid of some of the destruction left behind by Hurricane Michael hit.
They are about halfway through the process of removing 54-abandoned and derelict vessels from local waterways. And they could not do it without $3 million.
Abandoned boats are slowly disappearing from Bay County and Franklin County waterways. After December 16, there are only 21 derelict vessels left.
“It’s going to be absolutely great for not only myself but for everybody living on the bayou here,” said neighbor Chuck Bodiford.
Bodiford said these boats have been an eyesore. It has been a process to remove them, but now every day they look out their windows. They will be gone.
“There was a bad rat infestation and possible fuel leakage and so forth,” said Bodiford. “But all of that will be over with and they will be gone. Then the dock will get rebuilt and it will be pretty again.”
Hurricane debris removal Project Manager Frank Mancinelli said a $3 million grant is paying for all costs.
Sitting in Pitts Bayou, ‘Jetlag’ is one of the larger vessels they have marked for discard. The removal takes days of preparation. They first have to start pumping out water and deploying extra cranes.
“Then you take the weight of the water to try to pick it up, and there are obviously holes in the vessel so they’ve got to get them to where the holes are out of the water to pump remaining water out,” said Hurricane Michael debris removal project manager Frank Mancinelli. “Which they’ve been doing since yesterday.”
Once they are removed from the water, the vessels are crushed and the remains wind up in the landfill.
“Although I seriously doubt that either one of these could have ever been put back into a usable condition,” said Mancinelli.
Along with the boats, crews have removed one million pounds of debris from local waterways. Without the grant, officials said property owners would have to pay nearly $100,000 to remove the boats on their own.
The next boat on the list is also in Pitts Bayou. It’ll be removed after the first of the year.