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Date of Issue: August 25, 2010

CRA money to fund dunes project

CRA money to fund dunes project

The dunes at the Bridge Street beach access are due to get some added protection. Bradenton Beach city officials are planning a walkover at the popular beach access. Islander Photo: Lisa Neff

Bradenton Beach officials want to reconfigure how the city uses its properties at Highland and Church avenues near Fourth Street North. The properties include the public works shed, the police department, the old Monroe Cottage, a park and parking space.

Bradenton Beach is planning a new walkover to halt the treading of the dunes at the Bridge Street beach access.

The city, using community redevelopment agency funds, also is planning to improve the beach access at Third Street South.

The CRA committee gave the go-ahead for design and construction Aug. 18, when it accepted a proposal from LTA Engineering of Bradenton. ZNS Engineering also bid on the job.

LTA’s bid included $10,000 for design and permitting work and $5,000 for construction services.

The firm proposes to prepare site plans for the Bridge Street walkover and Third Street access, obtain field permits from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, issue a request for proposals on construction and oversee construction.

“We should be able to start construction toward the end of the year,” said Bradenton Beach Police Lt. John Cosby, who, as the chair of the city’s capital improvements committee, has been working on the dunes projects.

Cosby said the plans for a simple walkover design should streamline the permitting process.

LTA also is working on another project in the CRA district — the downtown area from Cortez Road south to Fifth Street South — that involves reconfiguring city-owned properties on Church and Highland avenues.

The city property in the area includes a corner park, a public works shed, the police department, the Monroe Cottage and accessory buildings and two parking lots.

The CRA committee is focusing on expanding public parking opportunities in the area by redesigning the two parking lots and parking sanitation vehicles on county property on the mainland to yield at least 62 parking spaces.

There are some other possibilities before the committee, including removing the accessory structures at the Monroe Cottage, relocation of the cottage and possibly reducing or eliminating the park, which was described as under-utilized.

“There are seldom people at the park,” public works director Tom Woodard said, adding that for the most part the city’s parks seem under-used.

CRA committee member Ed Chiles observed, “Our playground is the beach.… We should have facilities for our kids, but we don’t need multiple ones where none of them are getting used.”

The committee did not make any decisions on changes to city property last week, but instead asked LTA Engineers to continue working on the project, which also would involve landscaping.

The CRA district was established about 18 years ago to revitalize what was deemed a blighted area of the city. The CRA is a tool to dedicate certain property tax dollars for revitalization within the district.

The CRA committee consists of the mayor, commissioners and business representative Ed Chiles. A vacancy exists for the resident representative on the seven-member board.