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BB committees organize, address pier issues

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

Fishers, visitors and others enjoy the Historic Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach. An option to remove the T-end of the pier, possibly short-term, is being considered by the city. Islander Photo: Mark Young

The Bradenton Beach City Pier Committee will spearhead the proposed project to replace degrading pilings under the Historic Bridge Street Pier, but will have help from other city committees and staff.

At the March 21 community redevelopment agency/city commission meeting, the city pier committee, facilitated by Police Chief Sam Speciale, will develop a plan for the piling replacement project.

At the meeting, Police Lt. John Cosby asked the CRA to come to a consensus on which committee would spearhead the project, or if the focus would be a joint effort. The city’s pier team is responsible for pier activities, but the funding for projects comes from the CRA, and must be approved by the city commission.

Speciale addressed the CRA at its Feb. 29 meeting, asking for all committees to coordinate a workshop to begin moving forward with the project. Decisions had to be made on materials and possibly reconfiguring the pier to keep the project under a $400,000 budget cap.

“We want a consensus of whether you want the pier team to handle that, (capital improvement projects) to handle that, CRA to handle that, or do you want them to work together,” said Cosby. “The pier team is in place to handle it. The only difference is that the finance officer is not on the pier team and the main thing going forward is the money.”

Commissioner Jan Vosburgh suggested the project would benefit from everyone’s input.

“I think it would be better if (all of the committees) are involved,” she said.

Mayor John Shaughnessy said the pier team is capable of handling the issue, “but I think in conjunction of selecting materials and it being a matter of money,” CRA should be included.

The commissioners concluded that all committees would be involved as the project moves forward, but the city pier committee would chair joint meetings.

Speciale has said the number of pier team meetings would increase from once a month to twice a month, while also scheduling joint workshops with the other committees to expedite the planning process.

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