Mother Nature gave progress a push in Bradenton Beach.
And Tropical Storm Emily delivered the final punch.
Emily, which made landfall on Anna Maria Island at about 10:45 a.m. July 31, created large, choppywaves in Sarasota Bay that rendered the already damaged floating day dock adjacent to the Historic Bridge Street Pier unusable.
In a July 31 email to city staff, commissioners and community redevelopment agency members, public works director Tom Woodard announced that the dock “has been deemed unsafe” and is closed per the recommendation of the pier team, which comprises Woodard, building official Steve Gilbert and Police Chief Sam Speciale.
At its Aug. 2 meeting, the CRA unanimously voted to close the dock until its replacement — already on order — is installed.
The CRA approved a new dock in March and unanimously requested a task-by-task outline of the project at its Aug. 2 meeting.
CRA-member John Horne, owner of AMOB, the restaurant operating with a city lease on the pier, recused himself from the vote.
Contractor Technomarine of North Palm Beach could begin installing the new dock in September.
Storms last summer further damaged sections of the already compromised dock, which had been reduced in size since its installation in 2007 due to repeat storm impacts.
According to Speciale, the new dock will withstand a strong chop and includes a 15-year warranty.
Half of the $119,980 cost for the dock will be reimbursed to the city from Manatee County tourist tax dollars.
As with the current dock, the new dock will be available for boaters on a first-come, first-served basis, with a loading and unloading area for commercial vessels.
Since the July 31 dock closure, commercial vessels began using the city dinghy dock south of the pier for operations.
Sherman Baldwin, owner of Paradise Boat Tours, Horne’s tenant in the retail space at the foot of the pier, asked Speciale if the city notified boaters in the anchorage that the dinghy dock is approved for use by commercial boats.
Speciale said he notified people about the closure and was working on signage, as well as steps to ensure the dinghy dock complies with the U.S. Americans With Disabilities Act. However, he reminded Baldwin the dock is public.
“This isn’t something that we have to do,” Speciale said Aug. 2. “This is something that we chose to do to be good neighbors with some of the vendors we have out there.”
The CRA already had approved removal of the existing day dock by N.E. Taylor Boatworks of Cortez when the new dock installation was eminent, but unanimously voted Aug. 2 to have it removed as soon as possible.
Speciale closed the discussion and said he would keep the agency informed of any updates to the day dock installation.