“There’s a mess on Bridge Street, but it’s a beautiful mess,” Bradenton Beach city attorney Ricinda Perry told commissioners Jan. 16.
Work is progressing on two projects to improve the aesthetics of the commercial strip — the burying of utility lines and the replacement of asphalt parking and crosswalks with pervious brick pavers.
Bradenton-based Classic Brick Construction installed pavers — which will improve the drainage — in the Moose Lodge parking lot, as well as in parking spaces outside the BridgeWalk Resort, Fish Hole Miniature Golf and the Daiquiri Deck/new Bridge Street Bazaar building, which is under construction.
The latter two properties are owned by Commissioner Jake Spooner, also a member of the community redevelopment agency, which funded the projects. He also serves as the commission’s liaison to the Bradenton Beach Area Merchants.
CBC also set pavers Jan. 16 in parking spaces in front of the current Bridge Street Bazaar building, as well as Blue Marlin Seafood and the Hynds Group building at 119 Bridge St.
Next, the contractor will install pavers in the crosswalk near the post office and the sidewalk in front of the property. CBC will also install gray pavers at U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act parking spaces along Bridge Street.
CRA members budgeted $10,000 for a police officer to secure the area during the installation. However, Perry said additional police hours may be required to complete the work, which will involve installing pavers in the parking in front of the Bridge Tender Inn and replacing teardrop-shaped pavers in the roundabout at the base of the Historic Bridge Street Pier.
“This is a lot of work and we foresee needing more than $10,000,” Perry said.
She added that the cost of the paver project, as well as the utility project, may increase with change orders to handle unforeseen issues, such as how to secure pavers long-term. CRA members will discuss how to manage change orders, as well as additional funding for an officer on Bridge Street, during an emergency meeting at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 22.
Meanwhile, Wilco Electrical’s work placing utility lines underground is moving along.
“Unbelievably, we shot (bored) everything without incident so far, which is humongous,” Perry said. “I can tell you that visually you’re only going to see two transformers on Bridge Street.”
A transformer will be in front of the Island Time Inn, 105 Bridge St., and another will be near the Island Creperie, 127 Bridge St.
Other transformers have been concealed behind fencing and greenery near compact parking spaces at the base of the pier and underground at the Bridge Tender Inn.
Perry thanked Spooner for allowing the city to tie a transformer into an open delta connection — one connection in a three-phase electrical system in which three elements in series form a triangle with input and output supplied at each junction — on his new building while still under construction.
“We’re stuffing, basically, one of the transformers into the vice mayor’s transformer that he had paid for,” Perry said.
Perry said if the contractor keeps pace, 90% of the work will be completed the week of Jan. 20.
The CRA promotes restoration, growth and tourism for the district by funding capital improvement projects with incremental tax revenue collected by Manatee County since 1992, when the area was declared blighted.