More delays for city sewage station

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Some call the once beautiful grassy area at the 301/41 split, known as Luke Wood Park, the gateway to Sarasota. But for the past few years, construction has stopped and started on a high-tech underground sewage station. Now the news comes that the project isn't anywhere near done and the cost may be doubled what was originally expected.

It was supposed to cost about $12 million and be done a few years ago; but now it's much more expensive and there's still much more work to be done.

“It doesn't make sense to me. Somebody should grab hold of the reins and get things done.” George Carroll and Mary Powers have been walking by the city's sewer station project for years, and they think the whole thing stinks.

The city is on its 2nd engineering firm after the first one couldn't finish the ambitious job of going under Hudson Bayou. Now the new company says it's going to have to re-do major portions of this project, most of which you can't see, since it's underground.

Taxpayers aren't pleased. “It doesn't make me feel good knowing how our tax money is being spent. And I know they're trying, but they don't seem to pick the right people to do the job,” says resident Mary Carroll.

With the price tag rising upwards of twice the original $12 million, city officials are hoping the previous engineering firm will be forced to help pay for the extra costs. “There is a lawsuit pending, and we're hoping to recoup money,” says commissioner Susan Chapman.

In the meantime, neighbors like Donna and David Coe would at least do something about the rickety fence around the project. “That type of fencing is short term, and it's been here for years, and it will be here for years longer,” says David.

The city is taking a closer look at better fencing. Coe says they may win that battle, but the war has already been lost. “It's been a long list of delays, misleading reports, and finally we hear in order to make it work, they're going to have to rebuild a major part of this. Everything is set back until they do the rebuilding.”