Bilirakis Urges State to Fund Anclote River Dredging Project
Tarpon Springs has asked the state for funding because the project will ensure that Pinellas County and Tampa Bay will remain a a commercial hub and tourist destination for years to come.
TARPON SPRINGS – U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs, has asked the state to approve funding to dredge the Anclote River.
Bilirakis made his support known in a in a letter to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. In the letter, Bilirakis urges state officials to approve Tarpon Springs’ application to help ensure Pinellas County remains a commercial hub and tourist destination for years to come.
DEO Executive Director
107 East Madison Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-4120
RE: Funding the Anclote River Dredging Project
“Dear Director Proctor:
“I write to lend my support for the City of Tarpon Springs’ application for consideration under the Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) Growth Fund.
“The economic value of the Anclote River is of significant importance to the City of Tarpon Springs, Pinellas County, and the Tampa Bay region at large. According to a 2016 Economic Impact Study, the river services over 150 marine and tourism related businesses, accounting for $252 million in commerce. These businesses and the river’s natural beauty attract more than 1.1 million visitors to Tarpon Springs each year. Additionally, Tarpon Springs accounts for 56 percent of all commercial fish landed in Pinellas County, which is then distributed throughout the Tampa Bay region.
“Unfortunately, silt build up on the riverbed has caused many large boat operators to experience trouble navigating the river. In some areas, the water level is less than three feet deep at low tide. These risks have prevented a significant number of annually-porting vessels from docking at Tarpon Springs to offload their goods, which severely impacts many industries in the Tampa Bay area. Without dredging, the region could see a significant economic downturn for the 150 businesses which rely on the Anclote River, a decrease in tourism, and a shortage of available space for commercial fisherman, who must seek new locations to offload their catch.
“For these reasons, I strongly support the city of Tarpon Springs’ application for funding the Anclote River Dredging Project. This funding will ensure the county and Tampa Bay region remains a commercial hub and tourist destination for years to come.
“Thank you for your consideration and review of this request.”
Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes north Pinellas and Pasco counties.
For information about Bilirakis, go to bilirakis.house.gov.
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