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Date of Issue: May 14, 2010

United Parks Service awarded Manatee Beach contract

Mark and Debbie Enoch and Alan Kahana of United Parks Service will begin operations of concessions at the Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach July 21. Islander Photo: Nick Walter

The Board of Manatee County Commissioners decided in a 4-3 vote Tuesday to offer United Parks Service of St. Petersburg a contract to operate the concession at the Manatee Public Beach.

The contract to operate the concession at Coquina Beach was not discussed at the May 11 meeting.

Hundreds filled the first-floor chamber at the County Administration Center and dozens spoke in favor of the current concessionaires, the owners of Cafe on the Beach and P.S. Beach Associates. And despite emotional appeals from Commissioners Carol Whitmore, Joe McClash and John Chappie, who voted in favor of PSB, United Parks Service will begin operations at the public beach in Holmes Beach July 21.

A county recommendations committee reviewed four submitted proposals and interviewed representatives of the company before recommending UPS, which presently runs the concessions at Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County.

“This crowd showed support unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Dee Schaefer of PSB. “It’s love, and I thank those who voted for us and I think the other Manatee County commissioners made a bad decision.”