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Date of Issue: February 16, 2006

Pier plans progressing in Bradenton Beach

Plans are moving forward for permits, funds and a schedule for the repair and renovation of the Bradenton Beach City Pier, with the reopening of the defunct restaurant still planned for June 2007.

That's the word from the city's pier team, a group of department heads who are spearheading the construction effort at the pier at the east end of Bridge Street, which also includes expanding the dockage and handling the bids for a restaurant manager.

Tentative costs for the pier and accompanying work is $1.8 million, and city officials hope to secure state grants to fund much of the project.

The pier restaurant was damaged by Hurricane Francis in September 2004, and city commissioners decided then to end the contract with the pier restaurant franchise operators. The city learned that the pier restaurant was suitable only for demolition, and began the arduous process of securing plans for renovations, permits for dockage expansion, and myriad other elements to get the business up and running again.

Architects O'Brien and Smith have developed conceptual plans for the pier and associated structures that include a tackle shop and dockmaster's office - a related but separate set of plans are under way to develop a mooring field just south of the pier in Anna Maria Sound.

Those plans have been approved by the city and are now in the hands of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Building Official Ed Mc Adam told commissioners last week, with the permits expected to be received by April 2006.

Necessary piling repair work should go out to bid by June, he said. About 15 pilings under the pier restaurant are in need of repair.

Once city commissioners approve the final design plans - expected by late spring - bids will be sought for the restaurant and other construction.

 In conjunction with the restaurant redo, a large floating dock will be constructed on the south side of the pier. The concrete-topped dock will be a stand-alone structure measuring 210 feet in length, large enough to accommodate seven 30-foot-long boats.

City commissioners hope to utilize the feature at a later date for a water-taxi service if state, federal or local funds become available for such a waterborne "trolley."