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Date of Issue: June 17, 2009

Grant to ease Bradenton Beach's high water

The Southwest Florida Water Management District has proposed about $295,400 in funding for five Bradenton Beach stormwater projects.

The funding would be awarded over a three-year period and is contingent upon approval from the Manasota Basin Board and Swiftmud’s governing board, according to Robyn Felix, Swiftmud spokesperson.

“The projects will help reduce flooding, improve water quality in Sarasota Bay, provide shoreline stabilization and enhance the shoreline,” Felix said.

The five locations for possible improvements include:

• Avenue A between 24th Street and 25th Street, comprising 17.5 acres.

• Gulf Drive Basin at Runaway Bay and Avenue B, comprising 24.2 acres.

• Bay Drive South from Third Street South to Fifth Street South, draining 11.09 acres.

• First Street North to Bridge Street, comprising 11.11 acres.

• Bay Drive North between 12th Street North and 10th Street North, comprising 6.5 acres.

The city is working with Lynn Townsend & Associates of Bradenton on designing improvements.

Last week, Townsend and city public works director Tom Woodard briefed city commissioners and Mayor Michael Pierce on the plans.

Woodard said the total cost to complete the five projects was estimated at $3 million, which means the projects must be tackled in phases.

“We need to be out of the box, find ways to make that money spread,” Townsend added.

She said she hopes to use the Swiftmud grant and the city’s stormwater improvements fund generated by city fees to leverage additional grants.

City building official Steve Gilbert said the stormwater improvements should help the city’s score in the federal flood prevention program.

“A number of these projects are adjacent to repetitive-loss properties,” he said.

City officials said they planned to hold a public forum to discuss stormwater improvements.

“I’m glad we’re moving on this,” said Commissioner Janie Robertson.