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BB Scenic Waves stalled

By Mark Young, Islander Reporter

The Bridge Street-Bay Drive roundabout will be re-landscaped starting at noon Friday, Jan. 18, as part of the Florida Arbor Day celebration. And the Bridge Street-Gulf Drive roundabout in Bradenton Beach will likely receive new landscaping as part of the April National Arbor Day celebration. Islander Photo: Mark Young

The Bradenton Beach Scenic Waves Partnership Committee is scheduled to hold its annual election of officers in March, but nominations at a Jan. 7 meeting at city hall stalled due to a lack of commitment to serve.

The committee, the first line of authority for any improvements along Gulf Drive, has struggled to hold an official meeting due to poor attendance and a quorum to take action. It is seeking new members to boost the board, which has seen its legitimacy of late questioned by its chair.

For the last few meetings of 2012, acting chair Carl Parks listed an agenda item to discuss the board’s future and legitimacy. The answer from the few board members who attended was to increase membership.

Details on a membership drive are being planned, but anyone with an interest in serving on the Scenic Waves Partnership Committee can contact the city for information.

Nominations for the 2013 board officers stalled Jan. 7 due to the current members’ reluctance to take on additional responsibilities. Many of the existing board members serve on multiple community boards and have busy work schedules.

There were only two nominations for a new chair, currently occupied by Parks after Pat Whitesel resigned earlier in 2012. Parks has served as chair in the past.

Parks received one nomination to remain as chair, as did board member Jake Spooner, who declined, stating obligations to his business take up much of his time.

Spooner did say he would be willing to serve as vice chair, if needed. Secretary Ingrid McClellan, executive director of Keep Manatee Beautiful, indicated she would remain in her board position.

Parks remained silent on his nomination as chair and no vote was taken. Parks, instead, left nominations open until the March election.

In other matters, the board received updates on two projects initially generated through Scenic Waves.

McClellan told the board a Jan. 18 Arbor Day event is proceeding as planned. It will consist of a landscaping redesign of the Bridge Street-Bay Drive roundabout. Officials will hold a ribbon-cutting at noon.

The project is being funded by the Bridge Street Merchants.

City Commissioner Gay Breuler, the commission’s liaison to Scenic Waves, said the $2,600 secured to landscape the city’s gateway on Gulf Drive and Cortez Road also is proceeding as planned.

Breuler is working in coordination with three condominium boards to incorporate the areas of the condo properties in the beautification project. She said only native plants will be used and there are no plans to remove existing vegetation.

“And the city is offering to do the watering until the plants are established,” she said. “I’m hoping to get final approval from the condos so we can get it on the Jan. 17 commission agenda for approval.”

The Manatee/Sarasota Metropolitan Planning Organization liaison to Scenic Waves, Jim Van Pelt, reported that the Manatee County Health Department secured a $40,000 grant for its Complete Streets Program.

Van Pelt said Marissa Sheldon “did a great job” in putting it together and Manatee County was only one of a dozen counties in the country to receive the grant.

“It’s to promote awareness of the county’s walkable and bike-friendly streets,” he said. “It’s primarily targeted for children to help fight childhood obesity.”

Van Pelt said Scenic Waves should be aware of the grant to potentially garner some of the funding.

Committee member David Teitelbaum, also a member of the Manatee County Tourist Development Council and the Anna Maria Chamber of Commerce board of directors, said everything is looking good for tourism and upcoming events.

He did express interest in seeing Bradenton Beach commissioners more involved with the TDC efforts.

Restaurateur and Scenic Waves committee member Ed Chiles confirmed that tourism is doing well, “especially the European numbers, which are very impressive,” he said. “They really love the environment we have here.”

The Scenic Waves Partnership Committee meets the first Monday of every month at 3 p.m., at Bradenton Beach City Hall, 107 Gulf Drive. Meetings are open to the public.

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