Controversial Lake Dora dredging project to begin soon in Tavares

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TAVARES, Fla. - Muck and weeds will soon be removed from a section of Lake Dora's shoreline, kicking off a controversial expansion project that has been in the works.

Leaders hope the project will allow more seaplanes and boats to pull up to the beach, but not all residents are behind the $3 million expansion that was paid for with borrowed money.

The project was put to a citywide vote last year to buy more land along the lake. About 46 percent of voters said no, but the majority approved, and the project is moving forward.

Longtime resident Steve Pollock said he has mixed feelings.

"Making it beautiful is one thing, but making it reasonable, that money is not being wasted," he said.

The latest expense will be nearly $100,000 to make the shoreline boater- and seaplane-friendly.

Pilots currently have to wade through the water after landing.

"Then you step out and you're in muck, black muck," said Bill Neron of Tavares.

Workers have already spread a herbicide to kill the weeds. A contractor will then remove muck along half a mile of shoreline down to the sandy bottom.

Mayor Robert Wolfe said these projects will help attract more visitors.

"It's been a calculated risk that we took, and it's paying off," said Wolfe. "The naysayers, I see some of them out here enjoying some of the events and such, and it's good to see."

Pollock hopes the upgrade will attract new visitors.

"I hope so for my kids," he said. "I bring them down here as much as possible. I hope there's a future for them. This is where I grew up. I brought my kids back to grow up here. Tavares has always been a wonderful place."

The dredging will start later this fall.