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Date of Issue: February 13, 2008

Parks issues draw crowds to Bradenton Beach

It would seem that it takes an issue involving mobile home parks to draw a crowd to Bradenton Beach City Hall.

A near-record 70 people packed the hall last Thursday night, almost all to hear the commission’s actions on issues related to unrelated items which interested the Pines Trailer Park and the Sandpiper Mobile Home Resort.

Pines’ residents were upset, according to resident Arthur Foster, about a proposal to bring the Manatee Trolley down Bridge Street from Gulf Drive. The park, at the east end of Bridge Street, would have a turnaround site of the trolley if transit and city officials approve such a site.

Foster presented a petition of 40-plus residents who questioned the new trolley route, citing concerns regarding noise, fumes and general safety.

“We’re not against the trolley going down Bridge Street,” Foster said, “but we’re opposed to the trolley using the roundabout at the end of the street.” He said that there are delivery trucks up and down the “main street” of Bradenton Beach every day, and adding the trolley three times an hour into the mix “is totally unacceptable.”

Barbara Rodocker of Bridge Walk at Bridge Street and Gulf Drive endorsed the added route stop.

BridgeTender Restaurant manager Johnny Mercino echoed Rodocker’s comments, adding that it would be a “win-win” for trolley riders.

Pines’ resident Eileen Suhre said she and her late husband Richard, a former city commissioner, had helped develop the “downtown” district of Bridge Street. “The trolley will not help Bridge Street,” she said. “We all need to walk.”

City commissioners listened and made no comment on the trolley matter down Bridge Street.

Fast forward to the north park, and big issue No. 2.

Sandpiper Resort residents requested the city commission to execute a 99-year lease for several streets that run through the property. An issue has evolved involving streets within the property between the property’s lender, according to park president Bob Schubert, and the city, an issue that needs resolution.

The park committee suggested a vacation of right of was of 27th Street, Avenue B and the northern portion of 26th Street.

City attorney Ralf Brooks suggested that the matter was complicated due to myriad plat and ownership issues, some of which predated the incorporation of the city. After discussion, commissioners agreed to have the attorneys representing both Sandpiper and the city work out some sort of agreement, with Sandpiper to take the lead in the negotiations.