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Miami-Dade residents petition commission against dredging Haulover Sandbar

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Dan Rice is leading the charge against a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project that will deplete the popular Haulover Sandbar to replenish the nearby Bal Harbour Beach. The dredging is slated to begin this summer.

Rice, a U.S. military veteran and entrepreneur, is working with Alex Almazan, a South Miami-based attorney with experience in commercial and real estate litigation.

Haulover Sandbar’s waist-deep water has become a popular destination. They are asking residents to join their Save the Sandbar petition to Miami-Dade commissioners.

“What we would like is to have the politicians basically say let’s take a pause on this,” Rice said.

The feds plan to remove over 100,000 cubic yards of sand to deal with the erosion at the public beach. Rice and Almazan argue the county is already buying some sand and could buy the rest, rather than do away with the sandbar.

“There needs to be an economic study on this,” Rice said, adding the county is trying to save $2.7 million, but no one knows at what cost.

Jose Vega, a Venezuelan American business owner, is glad Rice and Almazan have stepped up to lead the effort in opposition of the project. He and his family run a popular food boat that operates regularly at the Haulover Sandbar.

Officials refer to it as maintenance dredging and say it will take about half a decade for the sand to slowly accumulate in the area again. Vega, Rice, and Almazan hope it won’t come to that.

“You’re destroying one tourist destination to support another — basically robbing Peter to pay Paul — when both could prosper,” Rice said.

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About the Authors:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.