The Anna Maria City Pier planks have a purpose.
The engraved planks that will be removed to rebuild the pier will be put to use in a fence on the perimeter of City Pier Park and at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society.
If those who sponsored a plank want it returned instead, they will have a short window of opportunity to make their request to the city, according to Mayor Dan Murphy
The final date to request a plank will be Jan. 26, Murphy said, and requests should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The email should include details about the plank engraving and contact information.
A pickup date to retrieve planks will be announced after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves a permit for contractors to begin work, which is expected to start in March.
Anna Maria city commissioners approved Murphy’s twofold proposal Jan. 5 to return planks to any sponsors that request them and use the remainder of the 1,100 engraved boards in custom-fencing at City Pier Park at the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard and at the Anna Maria Island Historical Museum at 402 Pine Ave.
Central to the proposal is an offer from island-based contractor Frank Agnelli, who volunteered to pull up and store the planks at no charge until the fences can be built.
Murphy said previous estimates to pull the planks came in at $50,000, adding that the city owes Agnelli a formal thanks for his offer.
The project will take about a year, Murphy said, and will cost about $10,000.
Other proposals discussed included using the planks in the City Pier Restaurant and bait shop, building furniture for the restaurant or storing and finally, destroying unclaimed planks.
Commissioner Doug Copeland said in his experience as a woodworker, he wouldn’t recommend using the planks to build furniture or portions of the restaurant because of their worn condition.
“They’re twisted, cracked, split,” he said. “To try to turn them into fine furniture, fine paneling, is really asking for something that might be possible, but the end result certainly would not be worth the money.”
Commissioner Carol Carter said even promising to return the planks could be risky because planks could fall apart upon removal. Murphy said the city would not guarantee that the planks could be turned over to their sponsors for that reason.
Becky Kieffer, a Ruskin resident, told commissioners her family sponsored two planks and she wants them returned. “I don’t want my dad to be a picnic table. I don’t want my dad to be a chair … I don’t care what shape they’re in, I want them.”
Laurie Sabath, a Bradenton Beach resident who owns property in Anna Maria, asked whether the city would sell scrap wood from the pier.
Murphy said the city would consider that as an option.
The City Pier Restaurant and The Islander newspaper partnered on the sale of engraved planks for the pier to promote the pier’s centennial celebration in 2011.
During that project, some islanders helped themselves to the discarded pier lumber for repurposing.
The Sandbar restaurant used planks in its decor, as did Salon Salon on Pine Avenue.
The Anna Maria City Pier was declared “totally destroyed” according to the terms of its lease after Hurricane Irma passed Sept. 10-11. Estimates from the contractor, Ayres Associates, allow 62-82 weeks to rebuild.
Commissioner Nancy Yetter was absent with excuse from the Jan. 5 meeting.