FEMA focus on superstorm Sandy delays BB day dock repairs

The Bradenton Beach day dock, adjacent to the Historic Bridge Street Pier, will remain closed to the public for now.

The dock has been closed since before the June arrival of Tropical Storm Debby due to a design flaw in the dock hinges, which caused sections to separate over time.

Debby’s high winds created strong wave action on Sarasota Bay that damaged the dock beyond repair. The city has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund a modified replacement of the dock that will see it reduced from nine sections to about five.

Funding has been approved, but Bradenton Beach Police Lt. John Cosby announced at a Nov. 21 community redevelopment agency meeting that the project could face further delays.

Cosby said to move forward, all that remains is two signatures, one from FEMA and one from the state.

“FEMA has conceptually approved our idea to reduce the size,” said Cosby. “We are just waiting for the approval to go up the chain and we are at the last person who needs to sign off on it from both FEMA and the state.”

Cosby said FEMA has not forgotten about the project, but anyone still working on Debby’s damages was sent to the northeast after superstorm Sandy hit.

Commissioner Ric Gatehouse asked for an estimated timetable, but Cosby said it’s up in the air.

“FEMA moved most of their people out of here after Sandy hit,” said Cosby. “Our state representative is the only one that is here right now. The money is appropriated. It’s just the final sign off we are waiting for, but it will be worth the wait.”

FEMA has agreed to the Bradenton Beach mitigation plan, which had to be approved from a standpoint that the city is unable to replace the original dock due to the design flaw.

The planned size reduction lowers the cost to the point where FEMA’s allotment of $57,000 will cover the entire project.

The dinghy dock, across from the BridgeTender Dockside Bar and Inn was completed earlier this month. Duncan Seawall completed the repair work and is ready to begin work on the day dock as soon as the city gains final authorization.

In other CRA matters, Cosby said the houseboat that sank in Sarasota Bay during a storm that came through the area after Debby, will soon be removed.

Cosby said the final paperwork to turn the boat over to the city is done, and an authorized vendor has been contacted to remove the vessel.

Cosby said all of the boats remaining in the anchorage area of the bay near the pier have been checked and are up to code.

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