Old Salt fish tourney has ‘significant impact’
Sgt. Dave Turner of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Anna Maria substation wrote Mayor Fran Barford a memo last week indicating that the fishing tournament at Galati Marine planned May 27-30 will “have a significant impact” on city roads and on residents’ “way of life.”
Turner made his comments to the mayor outlining his plans and suggestions if the city commission approves a permit for the event.
“With a little patience and understanding, we can make this a good celebration for everyone,” he said.
MCSO Deputy Steve Stewart presented Turner’s plans and recommendations to the commission at its April 22 meeting. The commission approved the tournament and Turner’s plan.
The event may draw more than 1,000 participants and bring a great deal of business and notoriety to Anna Maria, Turner said. Proceeds from the tournament will go to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.
In his review of the tournament proposal, Turner found that the Old Salt Fishing Foundation has held similar fishing tournaments and expositions in Pinellas County, particularly in Madeira Beach.
“Most of their tournaments through the city of Madeira Beach and with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office go well run and smoothly,” Turner said.
But the event will “have an impact” on Anna Maria, “its way of life, traffic, infrastructure and nearby residents,” he added.
Turner said he and his deputies will do everything possible to minimize impacts of the event by taking a “common sense” approach to the site venue, organization and administration.
On the plus side, Turner said holding the event at the end of a dead-end street — South Bay Boulevard — makes traffic enforcement, relocation and flow “somewhat easier.”
Turner said he will use only deputies assigned to the city because they are familiar with residents along South Bay Boulevard and adjacent streets.
The city’s curbside drinking ordinance will be strictly enforced, he said, and Galati will be required to provide a specific serving and consumption area on its property.
Turner suggested the city issue placards to residents before the tournament to help deputies identify residents and spectators.
Turner said a “normal event fee” should be charged because of the event’s impact.
Traffic assistants will be provided by Galati and Old Salt to assist deputies, and any music should cease at 10 p.m. to comply with the city’s noise ordinance.
Any additional cost for MCSO deputies will be covered by Old Salt, Turner said.