Anna Maria faces challenges in Irma recovery

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On a tour of Anna Maria Island Sept. 12, photographer Jack Elka — armed with his cameras and a drone — snapped a photo of the broken FPL pole on South Bay Boulevard. The pole was described by FPL spokesman Dave McDermitt as a major feeder for the area, and its replacement brought power back to a majority of its customers in Anna Maria.
Florida Power and Light employees replace the broken power pole Sept. 13 on South Bay Boulevard in Anna Maria. The utility pole snapped Sept. 10 in high winds from Hurricane Irma. Islander Photo: Bianca Benedí

Irma blew hard in Anna Maria — leaving most of the city without power for days and damaging the 1911-built city pier.

Anna Maria commissioners met Sept. 13 and Sept. 14 to review recovery after Hurricane Irma and set the city on schedule.

Commissioners held an emergency meeting Sept. 13 to extend the local state of emergency to Sept. 20 and review the city’s status.

Mayor Dan Murphy made the decision Sept. 13 to purchase a generator for city hall, which was still without power during the emergency meeting.

The cost of the equipment was $9,500 and city clerk LeAnne Addy made the round-trip to Wisconsin to purchase the generator.

However, as she arrived Sept. 14, power came on at city hall, Murphy said.

By Sept. 14, power was restored to about 88 percent of Anna Maria residents, Murphy said, with FPL hindered by remaining downed lines and trees and damaged equipment in bringing power to some customers.

Murphy said regular trash service resumed Sept. 14 and yard waste was to resume Sept. 18, as The Islander went to press.

He said two-thirds of full-time residents had returned to the island as of Sept. 14.

The city was going to wait some weeks before bringing in a service to remove large debris — “all in one go.”

He said the city would review its plans to repair the Anna Maria City Pier, because planks and roofing were ripped off in the storm.

“We have to restore it to the point where it was” when leaseholder Mario Schoenfelder began renting the pier, Murphy said.

“Anna Maria has to be restored and we’re going to get it done as quickly as possible,” Murphy said.

“We are responsible for ourselves out here. I’ll try to follow the system as best I can, but I’m not going to let things go to hell in a hand basket while we’re waiting” for FEMA and the county to address problems, he added.

2 thoughts on “Anna Maria faces challenges in Irma recovery

  1. Audrey Roberts

    So thrilled your beautiful Island was spared – Have been coming to Holmes Beach for 12 years and love it’s beauty and its people. Good wishes to the staff at Peach’s on East Bay😎

    Reply
  2. Deb Hamilton

    I was relieved to hear that AMI weathered Irma fairly well. The island is my favourite place to visit. Good luck to all with getting your Island back to normal.

    Reply

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