Palmetto Bay Marina Cleanup Almost Complete

Its a far cry from the way Palmetto Bay Marina looked just weeks ago, and five months after Hurricane Matthew send boats flying and left them landlocked.

Now the shore is empty. All that’s left is two boats being fixed or destroyed, not left stuck in the mud.

After five months, folks here are excited about the close to this chapter, and the future.

“I kind of figured that the trees would start to grow over it and it would turn into a mountain,” said Paige Duewel, who lives in a condo on the water.

After months of waiting for something to happen, for some of these boats to move off shore, for docks to be replaced, that’s all the hope Paige Duewel had back in December.

“I was waiting for the end, holding my breath every day and watching the progress. and every day got a little bit better. And then finally i could see the water,” said Duewel.

Water that was once full of debris left behind by Hurricane Matthew. A shore that if it didn’t have noats marooned on it was once covered in tents. Boat owners who lived there to protect their property.
Months of work,cleanup and demolition have finally paid off.

“Every contractor got a little bit done, and every little bit made a difference.”

“Although we didn’t want to see any of these go into dumpsters and its very very sad,” said an emotional Duewel. “Its necessary,  Those boats were not salvageable, either that or the owners did not want them.”

Now there are two. One which will be gone, the last to be destroyed. The other soon to be seaworthy like several others which were picked up and put back in the water where they belong.

Duewel documented every step of those five months on her video camera. She says it helped her stay “sane” during all the work and while looking at the damage. Finally, when she saw its all over.

“I just started crying because i love my sunsets, I love my view,” said a teary-eyed Duewel. “And i didnt want to have to move because it was so devastating to look at every day.”

Every day now looks brighter.. and better.

“I see jet skis. its surreal and im speechless, every time i look out there. Its crazy,” said a tearful Duewel.
“You never thought jet skis would make you emotional.”
“No and they are not supposed to, they are just supposed to make you happy. And they do, they make me very happy.”

Paige and everyone here knows it’s not quite over. They say the marsh needs to “heal”. The marina is saying they may not rebuild, and could sell. So it could be up to new owners to start over.

But it is a start, putting Hurricane Matthew behind them, and more sunsets ahead.

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BEAUFORT COUNTY, Sc. (WSAV) – Broken docks and boat debris have been sitting on the edges of what were some of the most beautiful Lowcountry waters before Hurricane Matthew hit five months ago. After months limbo between the state and county, a contractor was hired to start removing the marine debris Thursday, starting at Palmetto Bay’s Cross Island Landing.

For many residents at Palmetto Bay, their balcony views overlooking the water have been blocked by abandoned boats and dock debris.

“It’s been very sad to look at every day,” said Paige Duewel.

When she found out contractors would be arriving at 2 p.m. to start removing the debris, she couldn’t hold back the tears.

“ It’s taken a very, very long time for response,” she said, “We just want our marina back.”

“We hope to have this done by April 2nd, which is the deadline for FEMA funding,” said Simon Carlyle, Senior Project Manager with Tetra Tech who is managing the contractor, AshBritt, “So there will be multiple crews in multiple areas working simultaneously to get it done.”

“Fluids or hazardous wastes will be extracted from the boat, that’ll go to a landfill. The boats will then be crushed up and hauled off in roll off containers,” said Carlyle.

But locals who have been raising money to remove and repair their boats from the marina for months, say that’s a waste.

“I’m glad they’re gonna start doing a clean up here,” said Matthew Leitner who used to live on a boat in the marina before the hurricane, “I only wish they were recycling all the wood and the boats also. I mean there’s boats out there that could be restored and brought back to life again.”

Deputy County Administrator Josh Gruber said once the boats are removed, they are the contractor’s property and residents would have to make any requests for abandoned boats or wood debris to them.

Landings scheduled in the next month include:

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