TOXIC WATER: United Way to figure out how much local business has lost due to Lake O discharges

Surveys will go out in next few weeks

STUART, FL - As lawmakers Tuesday met in Tallahassee to talk about the Indian River Lagoon, local business owners continue to lament a lost summer.

Now the United Way of Martin County wants to find out exactly how much financial damage has been done.

Kevin Lindsay has a financial stake in clean water.  He says while boat sales at Lindsay Marine in Stuart haven't dropped this summer, he's taken a hit to his repair business.

"The less people use their boats, the less they're going to break and the less they'll bring them in here for us to repair them," said Lindsay.

Jim Vojcsik, Executive Director with the United Way of Martin County, said his board decided this week to get involved, not by providing money, but first finding out how much money has been lost.

"We started talking about it and we felt that there is an impact that goes beyond just the environment. There's an impact on people's livelihoods, on the health and safety of our community," said Vojcsik.

They plan on getting a survey together in the next few weeks to send out not just to businesses but also to area non-profits.

"Be that data collector and disseminate that information appropriately and understand what the impact is," said Vojcsik.

Like many who love the water, Kevin Lindsay is upset over the constant freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the Indian River Lagoon, resulting in months of health advisories.

"The different agencies in government can't get their act together. This should have been handled years ago after the last time we went through this," said Lindsay.

Lindsay is hoping the United Way's efforts will be the start of the right way to help local business.


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