State investigating abandoned barge rusting away along Florida intracoastal seas in West Palm Beach

Neighbors say the barge has been sitting for weeks

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Rusting and falling apart into the water of the Intracoastal along Flagler Drive, a West Palm Beach neighborhood is fed up with an abandoned barge that no one seems to want to take responsibility over.

Sitting in the water about 100 yards from the shores of Summa Beach Park, the city and state are getting involved to remove the old barge from the area.

"It's an ugly, rusting, eyesore," said Robert Norvell, a nearby resident of the El Cid neighborhood.

Norvell said the barge is blocking the path of swimmers and kayakers. He said whoever owns it has left it where it has been siting for months.
   
"You don't leave your trash in someone's front door and then just walk away. That's not being a good neighbor," said Norvell.

The City of West Palm Beach said if the barge was on land, it would have taken care of it. But since it is out in the waters of the Intracoastal, no one seems to want to take responsibility for it.

"It's got to be somebody's problem, and so far we haven't been able to figure out whose problem it is," said Elliot Cohen, City of West Palm Beach spokesperson.

Cohen said the Coast guard will not do anything about the barge because it is not in the way of marine traffic. He said the city began hammering the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.   

"Feeling pressure from the City of West Palm Beach, the state sent two letters to the owners of the barge. Weeks later, the barge is still here.

The state said whoever owns it has contacted DEP sand they will move it soon.

Residents like Norvell said actions speak louder than words.   
   
"Move it where it belongs which is in an area where work is designated for this type of thing," said Norvell.

Since the barge is in state violation, if it is not moved within the specified timeframe, DEP could move forward on its investigation.

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