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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Public purchase proposed for Gulffront Bradenon Beach lands

More public beachfront land acquisitions may be in Bradenton Beach's future.

City commissioners last Thursday authorized Mayor John Chappie to approach several Gulffront property owners to see if they would be "willing sellers" of their property, the first step in a process that could turn potential homesites into public beach accesses or parks.

Vacant properties under consideration for public acquisition include the Steve Noriega-Robert Byrne Gulffront property called Rosa del Mar, 2510 Gulf Drive; property at 17th Street owned by Lynn Hazlett; property to the south of Gulf Drive Cafe owned by Wendy Kokolis in the 800 block of Gulf Drive; and the controversial Island Inc.-Beach Development Inc. property across from Bermuda Bay condominiums in the 1400 block of Gulf Drive.

"All the property owners said they would be willing to talk" about the property being sold for public use, Chappie told commissioners, who unanimously approved his approaching the owners on the land deal.

But it's not Bradenton Beach citizens who will be the purchasers, but the Florida Communities Trust.

The FCT is charged with purchasing lands for conservation or recreational purposes. First step in the lengthy process is the signature of the owners on a "willing owner statement," a non-binding document that allows a grant application process to commence.

Next up are appraised values of the lands, contracts and other elements to turn the potentially developable property into public land. City matching funds may also be needed before the purchase is finalized.