Sarasota News Leader

06/14/2013

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AN ENVIRONMENTAL NIGHTMARE An engineering diagram shows the outfall canal close to the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Sarasota. All images courtesy Achim and Erika Ginsberg-Klemmt SARASOTA COUPLE VOWS TO KEEP FIGHTING DOWNTOWN DITCH PROJECT By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor "If Sarasota has an a--hole, we own it." Achim Ginsberg-Klemmt laughs and gestures to a couple of colorful posters propped up in his cluttered Sarasota home office. The graphics offer an overhead view of a narrow downtown Sarasota drainage ditch — a ditch that has become a source of frustration and anger for Achim and his wife, Erika. Achim's metaphor may be grotesque, but it's not entirely inaccurate. The ditch provides the only stormwater drainage for 46 acres of Sarasota's densely developed downtown, and it is clogged with runoff, trash and noxious plants. "You've got to smell it," Achim says, shaking his head. And for a drainage canal, it's not offering much The outfall canal in question runs from Tami- drainage. As anyone who's driven near U.S. 41 ami Trail west, cutting between the now-levand Fruitville during a eled Quay property summer thunderstorm on the north and Café We've measured exorbitantly high knows, the streets Amalfi on the south; flood early and often. amounts of fecal coliform. it dumps into the That is why the City of small inlet below the Achim Ginsberg-Klemmt Sarasota and Sarasota Ritz-Carlton. County — which man-

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