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Date of Issue: June 30, 2010

UPS prepares to take over 2 beaches

United Parks Service’s conceptual renderings of the inside and outside of the Manatee Public Beach concessions.

United Parks Service will begin its operation of the concessions at Manatee Public and Coquina beaches July 21.

At Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach, UPS plans a Key West-style look inside and out, and two phases of capital improvements.

UPS officials have said they will maintain the popular all-you-can-eat specials. UPS’s contract with Manatee County protects against price increases, and, for the first time, the restaurant will accept credit-card payments.

UPS financial officer Mark Enoch said the company would like to add a tiki awning on the pancake house, ideally making it both a pancake hut and a convenient stop for beer and wine, but not until 2012. UPS will first need local approvals as well as approval for the project from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Enoch said UPS also will need county approval and will renovate in accordance with public opinion.

“We want to see what the people want,” Enoch said. “If it’s not something the community wants, we’re not going to do it.”

The company’s conceptual rendering shows a mural on the exterior of the building and vivid colors in the dining room. The company also announced the addition of an ice cream-coffee shop with wireless Internet capability.

Both UPS renderings depict vivid colors, a contrast to the current pastel decor.

Enoch said the gift shop will see new shelving and display racks, and will be stocked with towels, souvenirs, rafts, floats and beach balls. “We’ll also focus on some Anna Maria and Holmes Beach souvenir shorts and hats,” Enoch said.

He said the first renovation will be a new furniture package inside the concession. The second phase will be moving some of the gift shop into the dining room for about two weeks, while the gift shop is renovated.

The first phase of improvements, estimated at $108,000, includes turning the indoor dining area into an ice cream-coffee shop, exterior paint, signage, front entrance improvements, landscaping, new awnings, a beverage station and new outdoor furniture.

The second phase to be completed within the second year and estimated at $50,000, would include renovation of the pancake station, rest-room rehabilitation, more landscaping and improvements to the patio and pavers.

Bicycle, scooter and kayak rentals have been eliminated from the UPS plan for the Manatee Public Beach.

Enoch said he is negotiating the purchase of Cafe on the Beach equipment and plans on holding an open interview process with cafe employees before UPS takes over operations and hires any new staff.

Enoch has said UPS plans on retaining employees at Cafe on the Beach who are interested in staying.

“I just talked to a couple employees already, but right now we’re mainly talking with Tommy (Vayias) and having him as a liasion with the employees,” said Enoch, who has visited Cafe on the Beach numerous times the past couple weeks.

Vayias, meanwhile, said he is trying to ensure a smooth transition for UPS.

UPS finalizes Coquina concession

Manatee County commissioners June 22 adopted a concession license agreement with United Parks Services for operations at Coquina Beach.

The Coquina agreement is for an initial five-year term with the option of renewal.

The 3,280-square-foot Coquina Beach facility is managed by Manatee County and currently operated by P.S. Beach Associates and Cafe on the Beach LLC.

According to a county recommendations committee, UPS proposed the highest compensation plan to the county, including profit sharing. UPS’s capital investment offer at Coquina includes interior renovations, addition of exterior signage and outdoor furniture, a kayak outpost rental facility, a shipwreck playground, a patio cover and a roaming beach cart with refreshments.

The Coquina concession will be rebuilt within the existing footprint after July 20.

In 2007, the Coquina Beach parking lot was redesigned, multi-use trails were added and law enforcement was increased to curtail gang-related activity.

Cindy Turner, director of the county’s parks and recreation department and a member of the recommendations committee, said Coquina Beach has the potential to become one of the top beach vacation destinations in the world.

“All those improvements will just continue to add to make the beach more of a destination,” Turner said.

UPS has pledged in its contract to relocate the residences of its key operators to Manatee County.