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Date of Issue: July 29, 2009

State awards harbor grant

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Bradenton Beach received word that it has a $165,000 grant to move forward with establishing a mooring field south of the Historic Bridge Street Pier, where a number of boats already are anchored and a dinghy dock services boaters making a trip to the shore. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials shipped good news to Bradenton Beach — a letter announcing a $165,000 grant for the city’s planned mooring field.

But city project/program manager Lisa Marie Phillips stressed much work needs to be done before a mooring field is established.

“Our out-of-pocket maximum is $35,000 cash. Before we embark, I am suggesting a feasibility study,” she said. “With budget constraints, we have to be absolutely sure this is fiscally responsible.”

The city commission authorized the grant application to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in April.

At the time, city staff, elected officials and a commission-appointed committee were getting started on a harbor plan, part of a broader recreational boating master plan sent the state for a preliminary review in June. Another element of the boating plan is a kayak/canoe launch at Herb Dolan Park.

The harbor plan addresses how the city would manage the harbor and protect the environment, as well as promote public access and recreational opportunities.

“There is a process, a sequence of events, if you will, that helps get us where we want to go,” Phillips said. “For instance, we cannot approach the Department of Environmental Protection about a mooring permit without a plan. Hence the HMP. DEP will tell us how many mooring spaces we are allowed, which is almost guaranteed to be different than what we ask for, and we will base our feasibility on that number. We don’t want to build something we cannot afford to maintain.”

Some of the FWC grant money could be used to fund a study as part of the planning for the mooring field.

Phillips, however, has not yet presented a recommendation to city commissioners.