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Date of Issue: April 23, 2008

New lighting likely for Bridge Street

Bridge Street lighting soon may burn at a higher wattage.

Bradenton Beach City Commissioners, meeting at city hall April 17, unanimously indicated their support to install new lighting on the commercial street.

“I think it’s going to be a real benefit,” said Mayor Michael Pierce.

The city had explored the option of installing solar lights on Bridge Street, but public works director Tom Woodard said such a program was presently cost-prohibitive.

Considering government budgetary constraints, Woodard recommended the city work with Florida Power & Light to install three new light fixtures and replace the six-foot arms on existing poles with eight-foot arms to improve safety conditions on the street.

“We upgrade,” Woodard said, “with no upfront costs to the city.”

Woodard also suggested replacing the existing 70-watt lights with 150-watt lights, except for the light closest to the beach.

“We can add shields if we need to,” Woodard said, referring to the need to eliminate lighting on the beach during turtle nesting season. “These lights are dark-sky compliant.”

Vice Mayor John Chappie made a motion to approve the lighting changes, which Commissioner Janie Robertson seconded.

“Goodie,” Robertson said after the unanimous vote to approve the motion.

The commission also discussed obtaining easements to build a sidewalk along Gulf Drive from the intersection of Cortez Road south to at least First Street North.

Mayor Michael Pierce said the Florida Department of Transportation had indicated its support for installing the sidewalks before the closure of the Anna Maria Island Bridge on State Road 64/Manatee Avenue forces a detour of traffic to the Cortez Bridge.

A number of easements from private property owners would be required for the project. So commissioners last week authorized the city public works department to work with the city attorney to begin the outreach effort.

“This is an opportunity that we cannot afford to pass up,” Chappie said.

“We have a good shot at getting this done before the bridge closing,” he added.

Robertson asked if the project would be derailed if just one easement could not be secured.

Bradenton Beach building official Steve Gilbert said, “DOT will not do a non-contiguous sidewalk. It will be all or nothing.”

That could mean the city might take property by eminent domain, Gilbert said.

Chappie stressed, “We’ve not crossed that bridge yet.”

In other business, commissioners:

Agreed to review a draft of Longboat Key’s fertilizer ordinance for possible adoption in the city. Chappie proposed the review of the measure, which restricts the use of fertilizer in an effort to protect bodies of water.

“We need t o take a leap forward,” Chappie said.

  • Approved special event and banner applications from the Historic Bridge Street Merchants Association for a Memorial Day celebration from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, May 25, on Bridge Street.
  • Approved a contract for an engineering firm to study stormwater issues at the border with Holmes Beach.
  • Authorized the police chief to sign an agreement enrolling the city’s police department in a multi-agency gang task force. (See separate story.)
  • Approved payment of invoices from attorney Greg Hootman for $5,596.74 and $919.75 in legal services; to Lewis, Longman and Walker for $16,531.05 in legal services and $4,200 to M.T. Causley for building official services.
  • Issued proclamations for National Public Works Week from May 18-24, Autism Awareness Month in April and Municipal Clerks Week from May 4-May 10.

The next commission meeting will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.