AM returns to normal, but pier plan needs overhaul

Anna Maria commissioners met as scheduled Sept. 14, with power restored after Hurricane Irma.

At the start of the meeting, resident and businessman Mike Coleman offered a commendation for the city’s efforts during Hurricane Irma.

“Even those of us who’ve disagreed many times over the years on one topic or another” have no doubt, Coleman said, that city staff and commissioners were working diligently for the safety of the city.

Commissioners then held a final hearing and unanimous vote to approve a new ordinance banning overnight camping on public beaches.

Mayor Dan Murphy told commissioners that he would have to delay examining the bids from a request for qualifications for engineering services to the Sept. 28 city commission meeting. The deadline has passed, he said, and two bids were submitted. However, he needs more time to evaluate the bids and rank them.

Murphy also told commissioners the city must overhaul its plans for the Anna Maria City Pier, which was damaged during Hurricane Irma.

The pier had planks and roofing ripped off.

Murphy said in the middle of the pier walkway, at least one cross beam was broken and the found pilings that were not connected to the structure. The fire-suppression system also was damaged.

“I can’t get an estimate yet on how long the pier will be closed,” Murphy said Sept. 14. “This is pretty significant damage. It’s going to take some time. It’s premature to speculate at this point until we get a report.”

The commission authorized the mayor to spend up to $35,000 for ARIS Engineering to assess the pier structure, develop a list of needed repairs and an estimate of how long the pier must be closed.

The mayor met with a structural engineer from ARIS Engineering Sept. 15 to survey the damage and develop a plan.

Murphy said then that he couldn’t speculate on the final cost of rehabilitating the pier.

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