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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Holmes Beach should consider Tidemark purchase

The Holmes Beach City Commission at its Jan. 6 meeting was scheduled to discuss whether or not it wants Mayor Carol Whitmore to explore avenues for the city to purchase the Tidemark property.

The item was placed on the agenda for discussion to "see if the commission wants to discuss going forward," said Whitmore.

She said she needs commission approval to investigate the possibilities of purchasing the property through various non-profit organizations such as the Trust for Public Lands or the Coalition for Public Purchase.

Commissioner Don Maloney is in favor of discussing a potential purchase, now that Regions Bank has foreclosed on the Tidemark mortgage (The Islander, Dec. 24).

"It's something I'd like the city to at least consider," said Maloney, who cast the lone dissenting vote against commission approval of the Tidemark site plan in July 2001.

"I think we should at least explore the possibilities of protecting the land for public use and having a say in its future use," stressed Maloney. "Who knows what's the next proposal there? A McDonald's?"

Regions Bank foreclosed on its first mortgage for $1.7 million and the property will be offered for public sale on Feb. 12.

A second mortgage against the property held by Brasota Mortgage for approximately $1.7 million is also in foreclosure.

The Tidemark property is located on the site of the former Marina Bay restaurant in Holmes Beach.

The Trust for Public Lands buys properties of historical and recreational significance on behalf of local governments, then works with the municipality on financing to purchase the property from the Trust.

Representatives from the St. Petersburg office of the TPL have looked recently at several properties in Anna Maria, including Roser Cottage and at the site of the former Island Marine, for a potential purchase.

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