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Date of Issue: July 22, 2009

Anna Maria beach funds in federal budget

At last, there may be funding for Anna Maria’s north-end beaches.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R.-Longboat Key) last week announced that he secured support in the House for $200,000 in funding for beach renourishment on the critically eroded north end in Anna Maria.

Along with it is a House commitment for $7.3 million for other area environmental projects.

The money was approved by the House July 17 for the upcoming federal budget, but would still need approval by the U.S. Senate and president.

The federal funds will augment local tourist taxes collected by Manatee County to help pay for beach renourishment, Buchanan said.

“This funding will allow the federal government to partner with Manatee County on periodic beach renourishment on Anna Maria Island,” he said. “This federal support is vital to the environmental and economic health of this coastal community.” 

Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford said, “This is an answer to our prayers. This is just wonderful news and the residents being impacted are so grateful.”

Although the next Islandwide beach renourishment project is not scheduled to begin until 2012-13, planning and design has already begun, according to Manatee County natural resources director Charlie Hunsicker.

The House bill also includes federal funding Buchanan requested to help dredge Wares Creek, beach renourishment of Lido Beach in Sarasota County, navigation improvements to the Port Manatee and restoration of Sarasota Bay.