Plans for construction of a 450-foot boardwalk and accompanying amenities at the Anna Maria City Pier to begin in November have been postponed. The project will not begin before the city’s May 2011 city pier centennial celebration.
Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick, who chairs the transportation enhancement grant committee, told members at the Oct. 6 meeting that delays by the Florida Department of Transportation in getting the request for proposals and the permitting pushed the start date back from November, as originally planned.
Rather than interfere with the winter season or the centennial celebration, Mattick said the DOT, which is overseeing the federally funded project, agreed to wait to begin construction.
“We did not want to be half-way through a project by the time the celebration began,” she said.
Mattick said she was “disappointed” that those attending the celebration would not see the new boardwalk.
At the same time, however, this is an opportunity for the city to hold two celebrations, she said.
“We are having a centennial celebration, then three months later, another opportunity for a celebration when the boardwalk is completed,” Mattick said.
Matt Anderson of Woodruff and Sons Construction, the contractor selected by the DOT, told TEG members the project would take about three months to complete.
DOT representatives Manon Lavoie and Barry Williams also attended the meeting to update the committee on progress of the project.
Committee members had a number of questions about the aesthetics of the boardwalk.
Cindy Mansour questioned the design and location of the new city pier sign, while SueLynn said she was opposed to any landscaping along the shore line that would obscure the view of the water.
Some members were opposed to changing the sign, but eventually agreed to a suggestion by Anderson that his staff present three new sign concepts for discussion.
“We don’t want to change it much,” Mattick said. “But we do need a new sign.”
Betty Yanger agreed.
“Someone driving down Pine Avenue needs to know something has been done at the pier, but they don’t know what,” she said.
Mattick added that whatever is done should not have a “gingerbread” look.
Landscaping also was an issue.
Plans call for native landscaping and 100 palm trees along the boardwalk, but SueLynn objected.
She preferred an unobstructed view of the water all along the boardwalk.
Mike Miller, who is handling the landscaping portion of the project, said native vegetation and palm trees planted in a “non-geometric” pattern would enhance the ambiance of the boardwalk and pier.
After discussion on both sides of the issue, a compromise was reached.
Palm trees would be planted in clusters at each end of the boardwalk and around the Dumpster at the north end. Other palms would be planted by the two pavilions planned at the pier entrance. Those would provide shade to walkers, Miller noted.
Committee members also expressed concern about the type and location of the furniture on the boardwalk and the planned bollard lighting.
Anderson said that within 20 days of the contract signing, he would provide Mattick with concept drawings for the sign, a preliminary design of the compromise landscaping proposal and some options on furniture locations for the committee’s consideration.
Williams said that when the DOT has 90 percent of the plan finalized, he would make a presentation to commissioners and the public.
Mattick said she would schedule another TEG meeting after receiving more information from Anderson. She’ll invite commissioners to that meeting to get them familiar with the boardwalk plan.