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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Path funds confusion in Bradenton Beach

The planned multi-use path through Coquina Beach in southern Bradenton Beach is still on hold by Manatee County the Bradenton Beach Scenic Highway Committee Corridor Management Entity learned at its Feb. 22 meeting.

CME member Mike Pierce questioned why the city didn't proceed with the plan on its own as it already has two $300,000 grants for sidewalks and bicycle paths.

Mayor John Chappie explained that the multi-use path was a CME idea, but was taken over by the county as the path will be on county property. The sidewalks and bicycle paths will be inside the city limits.

The grants for the bicycle paths are enhancement funds that are specifically for Gulf Drive, not for the multi-use path, he said. They can't be used for another project.

Unfortunately, Manatee County was only able to fund a one-mile portion of the multi-use path on the west side of State Road 789. The CME had planned to have the path go under the Longboat Pass Bridge, then back up the east side of the highway.

"That's still the CME concept," added CME member Bob Herrington, also a staff member with the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization. "But we may want to apply for grant funds to move that [multi-use path] forward."

Mike Sosadeeter of the Manatee County Parks and Recreation Department, which is spearheading the multi-use path, has not yet announced a start date of construction. Issues with the Florida Department of Transportation over the right of way, along with the width of the path, still remain unresolved.