Tag Archives: 05-02-2012

Coquina Cafe opens, celebration planned this month

Without much fanfare, the Coquina Cafe at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach opened April 7, but a grand reopening celebration is planned sometime this month.

According to Manatee County Parks and Recreation programs and policies coordinator Mike Whelan, the Bradenton Beach concession is operational, but the public announcement of the opening was delayed for a reason.

“An official reopening is in the preliminary planning stages for some time in late May,” said Whelan. “There are a few cosmetic things we still want to get done first and the staff needs time to develop working procedures.”

The Coquina Cafe was expected to open in January in time to accommodate the busy tourist season, but was first delayed to a March opening, and then again to April.

The 40-year-old structure underwent a major renovation with the county investing $350,000. United Park Services, the cafe concessionaire, did the interior work, adding $110,000 to the project cost.

Manatee County Parks and Recreation director Cindy Turner previously called the renovation project a “significant effort.”

Turner said the roof and floor were raised 18 inches. Other improvements include a new metal roof, storm-resistant windows, stainless-steel countertops, air conditioning and new electrical wiring.

Turner said the inside of the building was gutted, making room for all new cooking and serving equipment.

To enhance the beach dining experience, a wooden deck dining area was added, including new tables, chairs and umbrellas.

The initial delay was for a certificate of occupancy. The CO was issued, allowing the cafe to start service April 7, but the county agreed to wait at least 30 days after receiving the CO to allow UPS to work out any issues with the new facility.

The staff now is training and serving Coquina Beach visitors in anticipation of the summer beach season.

Whelan said an official opening ceremony would be announced in the coming weeks.

Take back rakes in drugs

Holmes Beach Police Officer Vern McGowan holds one of four boxes collected by noon Saturday, April 28, in the 10 a.m.-2 p.m. drug Take Back Day. The department already had collected three large and one smaller box of unwanted or expired drugs for proper disposal as its part in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Islander Photo: Bonner Joy

HB commissioners hear new rental complaints

Commissioner Jean Peelen read into the record April 24 at the Holmes Beach commission work session an e-mail advertisement for a “monster house” on 66th Street.

    The ad states: “South Seas is a brand new luxury island tropical home with six bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms and is only a short three-minute stroll to the Gulf beach…. Maybe the most outstanding feature of South Seas might just be the resort-style water slide that starts off the balcony and slings shots right down into the pool. You won’t find a faster slide on the island.”

    Mayor Rich Bohnenberger directed Peelen to send the matter to code enforcement.

    But related issues surfaced at the work session as commissioners addressed rental issues.

    “My question is do we have anything in the pool section of recommendations about water parks?” asked Gretchen Edgren of 65th Street.

    She said she’s been listening to screams of children playing in the “South Seas” pools.

    Bob Supply of 66th Street addressed commissioners, saying he shared Edgren’s concern. He also said more than four unrelated persons appear to be staying at the duplex home, as beds are also being set up under a deck.

    “It’s a perfect example of how we need to enforce our code,” said Commissioner John Monetti.

    In other business at the work session, Commission Chair David Zaccagnino provided a focus group summary of recommendations to the commission, saying there would be further review with the city attorney at upcoming meetings.

    During the commission meeting prior to the work session, commissioners unanimously approved two new laws — one banning gaming establishments and a second making revisions to its outdoor dining ordinance.

    The city’s ban on gaming at Internet cafes is modeled on a Seminole County ordinance currently being tested by the courts. It prohibits businesses from engaging in Internet gambling.

    The outdoor dining ordinance was amended to require city commission approval of new permits and provide for “periodic review” of existing permits. It also eliminates a $100 renewal fee. Restaurant owners with city-permitted outdoor dining are grandfathered, and will be unaffected until a change in ownership occurs or they increase their seating.

    Commissioners also agreed to discuss at a future meeting a proposed change in the oath required of persons speaking before the city commission.

    Commissioners Monetti and Sandy Haas-Martens said no change was needed in the current practice of requiring the oath, while Commissioners Zaccagnino, Peelen and Pat Morton approved considering a change.

        Peelen said April 27, after the city meeting, she had done as directed by the mayor regarding the 66th Street rental, and code enforcement officer David Forbes advised her that nothing in the code allows the city to dictate language in advertisements. advertisements.

Search ongoing for missing paddleboarder

According to the city of Tampa website April 30, at press time for The Islander, the search in the Gulf of Mexico for a missing paddleboarder was ongoing.

According to information released by the Tampa Police Department, Jeffrey Comer, 50, was last seen loading his paddleboard onto his vehicle by a friend at approximately 2 p.m. April 29 at his Harbor Island residence.

The board was found adrift by a boater near Holmes Beach at approximately 11:30 p.m. on the same day.

The recovery of the paddleboard was not reported until the morning of April 30.

Pinellas County authorities located Comer’s vehicle parked at Mullet Key where investigators report no indications of foul play was found, according to the website. Investigators later searched Comer’s residence, which turned up nothing out of the ordinary.

Comer is a competition paddleboarder and has no known medical issues.

According to information on the city’s website, several agencies are now involved in the search for Comer, but there was no new information to report.

Comer is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall, and bald with blue eyes.

If you have any information on the missing paddleboarder, you are asked to call the TPD at 813-354-6600 or call 9-1-1.

Roadwatch, May 2-9

Installation of new sewer lines on North Shore Drive at Cypress Avenue in Anna Maria has begun and the project is expected to last several months, according to the Manatee County Utilities Department.

Traffic on North Shore Drive should not be affected by the work, a MCUD press release said, but motorists should exercise caution in the area because of the equipment and ongoing construction.

Repairs to the Longboat Key Bridge/State Road 789 continue both day and night, a Florida Department of Transportation press release said.

Some temporary nighttime lane closures will occur that will last no more than 15 minutes, a DOT press release said. A flagging operation will control traffic during lane closures, and no lane closures are permitted from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. Friday through Monday.

The east sidewalk of the bridge and Greer Island — often called Beer Can Island — near the bridge are closed. The draw will open for boaters on demand.

Completion of the project is expected in late spring.

More information on the project is available online at www.mySR789.com.

WMFR plans Station 2 remodel

West Manatee Fire Rescue Station 2 was built in 1987 as an all-volunteer station in the days when neighbors helped neighbors, and the firefighters who gave freely of their time lived in the district.

         The times, of course, have changed. WMFR has transitioned to a full-time force of 33 officers and firefighters, as well as 30 reservists, who work, train and sleep alternately alongside firefighters, according to WMFR Chief Andy Price. The district’s three stations also house Emergency Management Service personnel. And WMFR has an administrative staff of 10.

        Addressing some of the changing needs — which began several years ago with a districtwide facilities report recommending renovations on the district’s four buildings, including its administrative offices  — WMFR is preparing now to remodel Station 2, 10350 Cortez Road, Cortez.

        Plans for Station 2, which is equipped with make-shift living quarters for six, include updates and repairs.

        At the end of March, Price said five “design-build” teams submitted to the district proposals, including the team’s credentials, capabilities, subcontractors and lists of current and past projects.

        The interested teams are:

        • Manasota Commercial Construction Co. Inc. and World Design Inc., both of Bradenton.

        ∙ Steve Solomon of Bradenton and Ritter, Migga & Associates, P.A., of Sarasota.

        ∙ Zirkelbach Construction Inc. of Palmetto and Klar and Klar Architects Inc. of Clearwater.

        ∙ The A.D. Morgan Corp. of Bradenton and BMK Architects Inc. of Sarasota.

        ∙ Ross Built Construction Co. of Holmes Beach and Manuel Synalovski Associates of Fort Lauderdale.

        WMFR commissioners will select the team for the project following recommendations from a citizen’s committee, Price said.

        The committee comprises former Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford; the Rev. Rosemary Backer of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church; Kerry Ward of Wells Fargo Bank and a member of the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority; and WMFR Commissioner Scott Ricci. They are expected to meet next week to commence interviewing the teams.

         The survey — known as the Totems Architectural Feasibility Study —recommended $900,000 in improvements to Station 2, according to Price. Anticipating the project, the WMFR budgeted $887,542 for facilities this year.

        The chosen design-build team will be asked to propose structural changes to the firefighters’ living quarters. Still undecided is whether to build a second story or expand the ground-level structure. Price also expects the team to receive input from the station’s firefighters.

        Implemented already from the Totem’s study have been $500,000 in renovation work at the administrative offices, 5217 Third Ave. W., Bradenton, completed in 2011, and a remodel at Station 1, 6001 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, recently completed. The Holmes Beach station cost $307,000.

        Repairs and renovation work for Station 2 is expected to be more extensive than Station 1, Price said.

        On both prior projects, he added, WMFR contracted with Ross Built.

        “We’ve been pleasantly surprised with how the projects have come in consistently under budget,” Price said. “But we’ve learned some things along the way.”

        Contractors had to work around firefighters at Station 1 during the remodeling, causing staff and scheduling challenges, he said.

        For the upcoming Station 2 project, Price said, “we’ll definitely move the guys —possibly to a portable building on site.”

        The last of the station’s renovations will be a $2-2.5 million new building at Station 4, 407 67th St., Bradenton. That project is expected to begin sometime in late 2013.