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Date of Issue: May 14, 2008

Grant clears way for boating plan

Bradenton Beach city commissioners recently signed off on a sweeping effort to develop a recreational boating plan.

The commission approved working with the IBI Group to produce a boating master plan, which would result in the establishment of a mooring field and the eventual hiring of a harbormaster. The project work will be paid for with a $39,200 grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with the city allocating an additional $10,000 for administrative costs and fees.

The vote on April 28 followed a presentation by Russell Moore of the IBI Group, with Commissioners Janie Robertson and John Shaughnessy and Mayor Michael Pierce seated at the dais. Bob Connors and John Chappie did not attend.

City project/program director Lisa Marie Phillips, code enforcement officer Gail Garneau and Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale sat in the gallery.

The IBI Group proposal calls for working with a mooring committee, city officials and city staff to accomplish numerous goals that fall under six basic tasks:

  • Organizing the project, which involves setting a schedule of meetings and other preparations.
  • Creating a database that involves reviewing past studies and existing data on boating in the city, as well as analyzing potential sites for mooring.
  • Holding public workshops, meetings and hearings on the issue.
  • Bringing the research, citizen comments and other materials together into a draft plan for a non-motorized public boat launch.
  • Bringing the research, comments and other materials together into a draft plan for a managed anchorage/mooring field.
  • Adopting and implementing the plan.

Speciale pointed out that the city already has accumulated a lot of information on the project.

“We’ve been working on this for years,” he said. “We do have a lot of history.… I made a promise that before I retired, we were going to get a mooring field.”

Phillips added, “There’s so much done already, this is a matter of tying up the loose ends.”

After Moore’s presentation, commissioners asked several questions.

Shaughnessy asked if the IBI Group would also provide assistance with the creation of the harbormaster post.

Moore said his firm could provide sample guidelines and job descriptions for the city.

“When you are finished with your work, what do we have at the end?” Robertson asked. “Is everything ready to go when you are done?”

“Yes,” replied Moore.

The commission concluded the meeting with its unanimous vote to proceed with IBI, which was the only firm to bid on the project.

“I think we’re OK to move forward,” Pierce said.

Moore said the plan could be completed by the end of the year.