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Date of Issue: March 24, 2010

Manatee Beach 700-foot pier ‘possible’

A 700-foot pier to replace the demolished 312-foot pier at Manatee Public Beach remains a possibility.

In fact, the Manatee County Natural Resources Department is in favor of a longer pier that would give fishers access to deeper water.

Charlie Hunsicker, NRD director, said it’s possible that funding for a 700-foot pier could come from concession revenues at Manatee and Coquina beaches. The concession operations are up for bid. On March 23, a recommendation committee for the county was scheduled to listen to oral presentations of the four proposals.

Manatee County Tourist Development Council representatives have stated the TDC has no funding for a 700-foot pier. But Hunsicker said that if the concession contractor affords the county sufficient funding, a 700-foot pier could be possible without a need for TDC funding.

A majority of Holmes Beach commissioners have said they are in favor of a 312-foot T-end pier. But commissioners John Monetti and Al Robinson and Mayor Rich Bohnenberger have indicated interest in a longer pier.

“We haven’t got a full vote with a presentation of a full budget plan,” Hunsicker said.

Meanwhile, the county awaits a permit for the 312-foot pier plan.

Hunsicker said his department favors a 700-foot pier, partly because of the benefits for sport fishers. A longer pier would mean new and deeper water to explore.

Hunsicker thinks a longer pier would not affect the number of tourists who visit the beach.

“I think it’s a matter of, do we or don’t we have a pier?” Hunsicker said.

Public opinion has been mixed on the pier length, but most seem to agree that the pier is an asset to locals, fishers and visitors and should be replaced soon.