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Date of Issue: September 01, 2005

Coquina Beach lifeguard station miscommunication glitch

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Station surprise
Architect Mike Bryant displays the preliminary drawings of a planned lifeguard station east of Coquina Beach at the Bradenton Beach Corridor Management Entity's Aug. 23 meeting. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
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Members of the Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway Committee Corridor Management Entity were surprised two weeks ago to learn that Manatee County planned to build a lifeguard station just east of Coquina Beach off Gulf Drive (State Road 789).

So was CME member Mike Sosadeeter of the Manatee County Parks and Recreation Department.

"I just found out about this two weeks ago," said Sosadeeter at the Aug. 23 CME meeting, "and parks and recreation is supposed to be in charge of Coquina Beach and Cortez Beach."

Architect Mike Bryant, who presented the preliminary plans at the Aug. 23 meeting, said he was contacted by the Manatee County Department of Public Safety for the design. The facility will be used for training, equipment storage and communications by lifeguards, not just as a lifeguard station, he said.

There appears to be some miscommunication, said Mayor John Chappie. Nobody asked the city for any input. "And we were supposed to be in on this from the beginning."

"We'd also like some input," noted Sosadeeter, adding that he'll suggest a meeting of all involved parties with County Manager Ernie Padgett to get everybody on the same page.

Chappie said the city has several concerns with the project, including location. He suggested the two-story facility be on the west side of Gulf Drive near the present concession stand and lifeguard tower. "It doesn't make sense for the bayside. It should be on the beach."

While Chappie said there was a need for the facility, he was concerned because Cortez Beach and Coquina Beach "are the most used recreational facilities in the county," but the county "spends all its funds at Manatee Beach," instead of fixing up Coquina Beach.

City Commissioner Bill Shearon agreed. "We've gotten the drawings and plans very late. Let's put it on the other side. That's where the people are. That makes more sense."

"We definitely need to organize this better," intoned Sosadeeter. He and Chappie will schedule a meeting with Padgett of all involved departments and entities.