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Date of Issue: March 05, 2008

Boat ramp, mural approved for causeway

The Bradenton City Council cleared the way last week for the construction of a new boat ramp along the Palma Sola Causeway.

The day before the city vote, the Manatee County Board of Commissioners authorized the installation of two painted murals along the causeway.

The causeway, part of the scenic stretch of State Road 64/Manatee Avenue that links Anna Maria Island to the mainland, has long been a recreational destination for boaters, fishers, swimmers, sunbathers and dog walkers.

An effort to improve the causeway has been ongoing for years. Visible results have appeared in the last year with the removal of non-native Brazilian pepper and Australian pine trees and, presently, the planting of native species.

While the landscaping will continue, other improvements will also begin, including the new boat ramp.

The ramp, as authorized by the city council Feb. 27 and previously endorsed by the county commission, will be built of concrete and measure about 15 feet by 60 feet in the southwest section of the causeway. A dock would measure about 60 feet by 8 feet. And a parking lot made of shell would consist of 11 trailer spaces and four passenger-vehicle spaces.

The council’s vote on the $64,000 project came despite objections to the future ramp from residents of the Palms of Palma Sola, who said the site was too close to their townhomes on Manatee Avenue.

The dock would be built about 100 feet from the Palms property, which consists of 10 units.

The city will oversee the construction project and the county, as outlined in a joint government agreement, will manage the ramp, with funding provided from boat registration fees.

Construction on the new ramp - already reviewed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection - was expected to begin as early as this week - a rush to work during the low winter tides.

Plans for the causeway also include a new rest room, new bus shelters and a newspaper rack.

Also, during its regular board meeting Feb. 26, the county commission approved the installation of two painted murals on the rest room on the north side of the causeway.

The murals would depict the history of Palma Sola Village over a 2,000-year period. Keep Manatee Beautiful, in partnership with the Palma Sola Scenic Highway group, proposed the project.

The murals will be based on historical and scientific literature to depict the resources of the corridor, according to KMB executive director Ingrid McClellan, the chair of the Palma Sola Scenic Highway group.

A project outline proposed painting an external mural on the rest room this month and next, with the completion of the work planned for April 25. That’s the date of a ribbon-cutting for the landscaping project, as well as national Arbor Day.

An interior rest room mural would depict the flora and fauna of Palma Sola Bay. That project would be installed in May and June.