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Holiday Hills dredging project added to waiting list

HOLIDAY HILLS – The paperwork is in and the residents signed on.

The village of Holiday Hills just needs to wait for its application to dredge two of its channels with the Fox Waterway Agency to be assessed and put on the waiting list.

If the waterway agency approves the project, it will handle the process going forward, including using grant funds and revenue from boat stickers to pay for the project and getting the sign-off from the 17 necessary federal and state agencies, Executive Director Ron Barker said.

The Fox Waterway Agency does about six to 10 dredging projects a year, depending on their size and scope, he said. They are selected based on how big of a priority they are and whether grouping them together makes sense, he said.

Like road resurfacing, the waterway agency will group several nearby projects to minimize cost and so it doesn't have to move equipment around needlessly, Barker said.

The Holiday Hills project will likely take about three years to make it through the waiting list, he said.

The channels have been filling in with silt since they were dug 20 years ago, said Village President Dan Drury, who made the dredging a priority during his campaign for the office.

By reopening up the channels to boat traffic, the property in the area will become valuable, he said.

The boat channels can be as shallow as a foot and a half in some areas, Drury said, adding that the dredging work should help with flooding and mosquitoes.

A community effort to address bank erosion will be started in conjunction with the dredging project, Drury said. Closer to the work starting, residents will get more information about some of the options, which include the low-cost option of plants to the more expensive installation of a barrier.

Further down the road, Drury also hopes to add a community marina so people that don't live on the water can get access to a boat slip and perhaps use some of the 300,000 cubic yards of removed dirt in a community garden.

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