Anna Maria selects Kebony pier decking, reviews T-end layout

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Anna Maria Commissioner Carol Carter holds a sample of Kebony, an enhanced wood product, chosen March 6 for the decking in the rebuild of the city pier. See story, page 3. Islander Photo: Bianca Benedí
A model of the city pier design by Schimberg Group depicts the proposed addition of extended roofing and a trellis facing Tampa Bay at the T-end of the Anna Maria City Pier. Islander Graphic: Courtesy Schimberg Group

Another step is concreted for the future Anna Maria City Pier.

After weighing their options, Anna Maria commissioners directed Ayres Associates, the firm hired to engineer and carry out rebuilding the Anna Maria City Pier, to use Kebony as the decking material.

Touted as a sustainable alternative to hardwood, Kebony is created with pine and modified to perform like mahogany or teak, longer-lasting tropical hardwoods.

The Kebony material, at $3.24 per linear foot, comes with a 30-year warranty and a 50-75-year life span.

Commissioners voted 4-1 for Kebony after failing to take up a motion from Commissioner Brian Seymour to select IPE, a Brazilian hardwood that costs $3.91 per linear foot.

Commissioner Dale Woodland voted against the Kebony.

Azek, a material made of a plastic composite, was rejected because it would retain heat, making it a hazard for barefoot visitors.

Commissioners voted to select spun-concrete for the piling material at a Feb. 14 meeting with Ayres Associates.


Architects present pier design

      The pier will look “pretty much the same,” said Barron Schimberg, owner of the Sarasota-based Schimberg Group, the architectural firm selected by Ayres to design the new pier.

Schimberg presented commissioners March 6 with floor plans, models and renderings of the redesign, highlighting what has changed and what has stayed the same.

The most notable differences would be a change to the shape of the roof, the layout of the bathrooms and the addition of a trellis at the back of the restaurant.

Schimberg proposed extending the portion of the roof connecting the bait shop to the restaurant over the walkway to the front and back of the pier.

He also proposed relocating the pier bathrooms to make them more accessible at the back of the pier.

In addition, Schimberg proposed the trellis to resemble scattered fishing poles. The trellis would provide partial shade for the area behind the bait shop.

Other proposed changes include adding sliding-glass doors to the restaurant, moving the garbage containers to the east side of the pier and removing a door from the bait shop.

Schimberg said sliding-glass doors at the side and back of the restaurant would open up the space, allow air to flow and enable waiters to serve outside customers more readily. Other changes would clean up the facade, he said.

Mayor Dan Murphy asked Schimberg to send commissioners copies of the floor plan and models for review.

Although Schimberg’s model included solar panels, he said that would need to be arranged between the tenant and the city, not the architect.

Woodland told Schimberg after his presentation: “There’s one thing you can’t do with architecture and design and that’s called character…. You can’t build character, that comes with time.”

Woodland told Schimberg he would continue to vote “no” throughout the process, as he now has his mind set on repairing the pier.

During public comments, Anna Maria resident Dennis Ellsworth expressed concern that the model appeared to show the majority of the T-end of the pier as a restaurant.

Schimberg said the design was not set, and the tables were only included in the model for illustrative purposes. He also noted the area around the perimeter of the building for fishing is unchanged.

Mike Deal, a regular at the pier before it was closed in September, also commented on the amount of dining tables in the design. He said 30-40 people would congregate in the open area of the pier deck and adding chairs and tables would take that space away.

The bait shop served beverages on the open deck and often a musician entertained there.

Deal added that he approved of the trellis to create shade.

Murphy said commissioners should come back with comments on the design at the next meeting with Ayres Associates.

In addition, the mayor said he would attempt to arrange a meeting with pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder, who he expects to be visiting Anna Maria from his home in Germany through May.

The next meeting with Ayres will take place in the next three weeks, Murphy said.

3 thoughts on “Anna Maria selects Kebony pier decking, reviews T-end layout

  1. Colin Barnes

    Hear hear. Commissioner woodland says it all perfectly. We are from the uk and have visited ami five times in the last six years. The pier is the main reason we come. The people, Howie bait shop Brian gives the place it’s unique character. Repair it as close to its original character as possible don’t make it a ess sterile as bradenton pier. Col and Fiona

  2. gary leigh

    Has anyone actually considered why people visit the pier ? it is primarily used as a fishing pier where people go to fish watch the fishing and have a drink meal etc.
    By putting a trellis on the back deck you are not only making it more restrictive to fish but also creating added danger to the public with fisherman and children casting there lures.
    I hope someone takes this onboard and creates a safe area for everyone including proper facilities for the many that fish there with sufficient benches bait tables and pole holders
    Gary (England)

  3. Janet Aubry

    Personally I think Commissioner Brian Seymour was on the right track with his proposal to use IPE on the Pier based on its known performance, longevity, cost and appearance. The material selected may be better in terms of those criteria but the article didn’t elaborate on the criteria for the selection so I don’t know the answer to that.
    Commissioner Woodland and others were correct in saying the “design” cannot replace the character of the original structure. I suggest we don’t try to fix what ain’t broke.I I prefer a replica of what was always there. There is no reason for adding lattice that looks like fishing poles (?!), solar panels, sliding doors, expanding the seating, decreasing the fishing area, etc. All of those changes are either gimmicky (pole lattice), not safe and an air conditioning nightmare (sliding glass doors), or more “commercial” than “fishing pier” oriented. We already have the perfect Pier – there is no reason to change the roof design or anything else. It just needs to be fortified after long term neglect and the materials selected to do that appear to be similar in looks but stronger and longer lasting than the original. Let’s not pimp it all up but rather let it stand on it’s own dignity.


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