Improvements planned for Gulf front park in Bradenton Beach

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Katie Pierola Sunset Park, 220 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach, is in need of improvements, including sign relocation, plant maintenance and ropes and bollards.

A beachfront park in Bradenton Beach has been neglected for too long.

At a June 7 Bradenton Beach capital improvements meeting, commissioners and Mayor Bill Shearon unanimously voted to accept a plan for improvements to Katie Pierola Sunset Park, 2200 Gulf Drive N., to be presented to the capital improvements committee for review.

The CIP committee comprises Shearon, city engineer Lynn Burnett, public works director Tom Woodard and Bradenton Beach Police Lt. John Cosby.

Bradenton Beach Scenic WAVES Partnership Committee chair Tjet Martin presented improvement suggestions behalf of the advisory group.

Martin’s plans propose moving the park sign and monument so they are more visible, trimming overgrown vegetation, replacing old ropes and bollards, and adding new chickee huts.

Additionally, she said the city would need to rezone the park from residential to parks and recreation.

“We need to move forward with getting improvements done to this park,” Martin said. “It’s really been neglected.”

Vice Mayor John Chappie said nothing has been done to improve the park since it first opened.

Commissioner Marilyn Maro, representing Ward 2, where the park is located, said her constituents would like to see the park restored.

Maro said handicap access to the park was removed after it was damaged by a storm. She said the park is overrun with weeds and needs to be maintained.

“Our parks should be an asset to Bradenton Beach, not look like they’re desolate,” Maro said.

Cosby addressed the commission and said certain improvements would be simpler than others.

He said the sign could be refurbished or replaced. He said the sign’s location is a safety hazard alongside the path. He said the monument sign needs to be placed as well, and he will discuss placement options with Scenic WAVES.

Cosby said the city is planning to replace the ropes and bollards to clearly mark the path.

He said the handicap access was never replaced because there is no handicap parking for the park, and it would be costly. It was therefore deemed unnecessary.

Cosby said funding to replace the chickee huts would need to be considered by the CIP committee. He said he could start pricing the replacements and the commission could determine how the covered picnic tables would be budgeted.

Chappie said another possibility for the park would be a pull-off area for the trolley.

Shearon and Martin agreed.

Shearon said he recommends Scenic WAVES submit its plan for the park while Garrett drafts the rezoning proposal, to be reviewed by the CIP committee to “put some dollar figures on it.”

Chappie motioned to accept the plan for the park, with the addition of a trolley pull-off, to be submitted to the CIP committee for a funding review.

The motion passed unanimously.

The next Bradenton Beach CIP/City Commission meeting will be at 9:30 Wednesday, July 5, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.

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