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Date of Issue: October 11, 2007

Holmes Beach parks committee scouting for sites

Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee members are going exploring on public lands.

The committee, which met at city hall Oct. 3 after a summer break, is tackling an agenda this fall that includes recommending locations for new trolley stop shelters and new linear parks, or public green spaces.

The city plans to build three trolley stop shelters during the next year, each estimated to cost about $7,200. So members of the parks committee plan to review trolley stops and identify potential locations for shelters.

Additionally, committee members plan to survey the city to identify locations for linear parks, small green spaces on public rights of way not likely to become roads. One such park exists at Sixth Avenue and 35th Street. Mayor Rich Bohnenberger has said he wants to see more.

Committee chairman Jim Dunne said he hoped the business community would seed the city’s tree dedication program to help improve such parks and other public areas.

Each week, Dunne wants the beautification committee to invite a member of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce to donate a tree.

“We have room for about 320 donated trees,” Dunne said, referring to city-owned green space. “I figure there’s room for one from each member of the chamber.” He estimated the cost to dedicate a tree at $100 to $200, including a marker with the donor’s name.

In other business, committee members agreed to hold a public education forum in February and to organize an outdoor holiday movie party, which will take place Dec. 1 in the field next to city hall. Plans are to show the original feature film, “Miracle on 34th Street.”

The committee also is keeping watch on the Grassy Point restoration project, which involves revitalizing 23 acres between Anna Maria Sound on the east and East Bay Drive on the west.

“A contract is out for bid for the removal of exotics,” Dunne said, referring to plans to cut down non-native invasive plants, including Brazilian pepper trees and Australian pines.

Meanwhile, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, which is overseeing the effort to revitalize mangrove habitat and coastal uplands at Grassy Point, continues to await government permits.

The parks and beautification committee’s next meeting will take place at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

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