Anna Maria begins funding process for new city pier

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Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy, right, addresses the commission Nov. 30 with his funding plan to cover costs to rebuild the Anna Maria City Pier. Pictured with Murphy are Commissioners Dale Woodland and Nancy Yetter. Islander Photo: Bianca Benedí

Anna Maria is working through a list of funding sources to rebuild the Anna Maria City Pier.

The total cost of rebuilding the pier, according to updated estimates, is $4.5 million at the high end.

At the Nov. 30 commission meeting, Mayor Dan Murphy introduced a more complete funding plan to commissioners, as well as two agreements to cover about 40 percent of the cost to rebuild the pier.

At the city meeting, commissioners voted to sign an interlocal agreement with Manatee County to receive $1.5 million in pier funding from the tourist development tax.

The agreement was unanimously approved Dec. 4 by the Manatee County Tourist Development Council, which met at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.

During the TDC meeting, Murphy told council members that the pier rebuild would enable the city to accommodate a water-taxi system, adding that the city also would be employing greener technologies, including solar panels, in the construction.

“The pier is iconic … and it’s important that we partner with the city to renovate it,” said Elliott Falcione, executive director of the BACVB, which serves under the TDC.

The county will match up to $1.5 million in spending, according to the agreement, which requires the city to pay for the work as it progresses and submit receipts for repayment. The city will need to find money in the budget to make the initial payouts.

The cost of rebuilding the pier would be $3.2 million, excluding costs to rebuild the restaurant, which will not be paid by Manatee County due to TDC restrictions.

The funding agreement would be in place until 2020.

Commissioners also approved a resolution authorizing Murphy to seek $333,000 from the county beach concession fund to cover another portion of the pier.

Murphy will need agreement and signatures from Holmes Beach Mayor Bob Johnson and Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie before he can seek the concession funding.

Meanwhile, Murphy said, state Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Manatee, agreed to submit legislation asking the state for $750,000 for the pier. The mayor said he was “confident” the request would be approved.

Another $200,000 would come from a line item the city made in the 2017-18 budget for pier repairs, and Murphy anticipates a $1,250,000 payment from Federal Emergency Management Agency

The remaining $467,000 is unaccounted for, Murphy said, but there are options available.

Murphy said he spoke with Bob Carter, a member of the planning and zoning board and husband of Commissioner Carol Carter. His career includes significant fundraising experience and he recommended the city use corporate sponsorships to cover costs.

In addition, Anna Maria resident Sissy Quinn is in the process of creating a GoFundMe campaign for the pier, Murphy said.

Finally, the city could create another budget line to cover expenses in fiscal year 2018-19.

Sept. 10-11, Hurricane Irma damaged the city pier, which already needed repair.

Engineers from the Tampa-based firm Ayres Associates said the pier would take 62-82 weeks to rebuild.

Murphy declared the pier “totally destroyed” per the terms of the city’s lease with Mario Schoenfelder, which defines total destruction as repairs, which would take more than 120 days to complete.

4 thoughts on “Anna Maria begins funding process for new city pier

  1. perisculptor

    I am amazed at how many people don’t realize that when they donate a plank, they don’t own it. It is unfortunate that a hurricane happened. We are lucky there is anything left of the island at all.
    I am sure that the mayor and commissioners will attempt to work something out for the planks, but please understand, you donated in memory of your loved one, in WOOD, which does not last forever.

    Reply
    1. bonnerj

      True. As long as there’s a lease, the tenant controls the pier and the planks. And the planks were offered as sponsorship — not ownership — for the pier centennial. — Bonner Joy

      Reply
  2. Becky Kieffer

    There’s no mention of the planks in this article. What is the status? Are they going to do the “right” thing and return them to the rightful owners?

    Reply
  3. Sandra Rudebush

    What will happen to the existing planks that mean so much to so many people? There was talk about removing them and allowing the families that donated them in memory of someone would be able to get them back.

    This is very important to so many people!

    Reply

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