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Date of Issue: November 10, 2005

Holmes Beach beautification committee makes plans

The Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee has begun making plans for the season. Members are interested in continuing efforts to provide educational information to the public regarding landscaping and the Island environment.

Holmes Beach Commissioner Rich Bohnenberger attended a recent committee meeting asking for support to inform the public about the affects of fertilization on water quality. Committee members agreed that addressing how pollutants enter our aqueous environment and how stormwater runoff effects water quality is important, but it is also important to inform people of proper fertilization practices.

The committee plans to hold a public forum similar to one it held last season on native trees. A subcommittee headed by member Kathleen King will begin looking for panelists from local agencies and organizations for an Islandwide workshop to be scheduled in February.

The committee told Bohnenberger that it also recognized the importance of the topic and agrees that recent theories persuading public perception that red tide may be aggravated by fertilizer runoff into the bay makes it an opportune time to raise awareness of water-quality issues in general.

In other news, new member John Molyneux outlined his approach to organizing a tree-replacement program in Holmes Beach and potentially Islandwide. First steps include creating a mission statement and meeting with Holmes Beach Public Works Superintendent Joe Duennes to map out areas suitable for planting memorial trees.

Duennes updated the committee on the status of the soccer field and basketball court adjacent to city hall. The city is still waiting on the availability of concrete to begin the installation of the planned basketball court outdoors.

The soccer field however has made progress. Duennes reported that the city paid for sod, fertilizer and irrigation of the soccer field and the Anna Maria Island Community Center provided the soccer goals. He noted that drawing goal lines would also be at the Center's expense, if needed.

Committee member Jim Dunne questioned if the city had plans to firm up the swampy area along Flotilla Drive near the field where people park. He pointed out that once the Center begins holding soccer games at the field, there will be a large demand there for parking.

Duennes agreed that the space is a huge mess now and the added number of cars parking there will only increase the "nightmare."

He suggests the city regrade, adding a swale and crushed concrete fill since the area doesn't percolate well and is heavily utilized.

"Crushed concrete isn't as pretty as grass, but in the interest of maintenance it would be the answer. The sod holds the water and tire marks. Even when there is not a lot of activity it looks nasty. It's a nightmare for me," Duennes agreed.

Finally, the committee has beautified the traffic medians at East Bay Drive and Manatee Avenue and looks forward to adding seasonal plantings to keep it visually attractive. For the Thanksgiving holiday, mums will be installed and later poinsettias will be added.

The parks and beautification committee will hold its next meeting Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. in the city hall conference room. The public is welcome to attend and the committee is interested in filling one more seat recently vacated by Deborah Heger.