Thank you for visiting The Islander Newspaper Online.

We are currently updating our website to provide you better service and function.
If you would like to access the new site, please, click here: The Islander Newspaper

Sorry for any inconvenience. Our new site and service will resume shortly.

Web Master

The Award Winning & Best News on Anna Maria Island, FL Since 1992

"The Award Winning & Best News on Anna Maria Island, FL Since 1992"

Wednesday, Oct, 1, 2014
Florida Press Assn. Award-Winning Web Site
Home Latest News Weather Sports Real Estate Classifieds Island Guide Islander Store

 SECTIONS

 • 

Main News

 • 

Classifieds

 • 

Opinions

 • 

Streetlife

 • 

Calendar

 • 

Fishing

 • 

Sports

 • 

Real Estate

 • 

Obituaries

 • 

Weather

 Features

 • 

Cortez Cook Off: The Results

 • 

Anna Maria Island Bridge FDOT replacement bridge

 • 

National Hurricane Center (Atlantic)

 • 

Advanced Search

 • 

I love AMI

 • 

Mystery Story

 • 

Fishing Laws

 Classifieds

 • 

Classifieds Page

 • 

Place An AD

 • 

Items for Sale

 • 

Garage Sale

 • 

Estate Sale

 • 

Announcments

 • 

Lost & Found

 • 

Pets

 • 

Transportation

 • 

Boats & Boating

 • 

Fishing

 • 

Kids 4 Hire

 • 

Help Wanted

 • 

Health Care

 • 

Services

 • 

Lawn & Garden

 • 

Landscaping

 • 

Home Improvement

 • 

Business Opportunities

 • 

Rentals

 • 

Real Estate

 Weather

 • 

Today's Forecast

 • 

10 Day Forecast

 • 

Today's Tides

 • 

Emergency e-mail

 • 

Storm Watch

 Archive

 • 

News Archive

 • 

2009 Top Notch Gallery

 • 

2008 Top Notch Gallery

 • 

2007 Top Notch Gallery

 • 

2006 Top Notch Gallery

 • 

2005 Top Notch Gallery

 • 

2004 Top Notch Gallery

 Useful Links

 • 

Island Links

 • 

i.wed

 • 

Islander Store

 • 

About this Site

 Contact Us

 • 

Islander Store

 • 

Subscribe

 • 

About Us

 • 

e-mail us

Story Tools

Date of Issue: March 15, 2007

New hurdles in path of Coquina Beach Trail construction

coquina pic
coquina pic
Now and later
Anna Maria resident and native landscape expert Mike Miller offered "current and tomorrow" pictures of Cortez Beach as it appears now and as it could in a few years after planting native Florida landscaping. Islander Photos: Courtesy Mike Miller

Progress on the controversial Coquina Beach Trail in Bradenton Beach has come to a screeching halt, thanks to bureaucracy.

Construction on the 1.3-mile-long trail, from Fifth Street South to the base of the Longboat Bridge on the west side of Gulf Drive, began last month. The 8-foot-wide asphalt path meanders under some trees, has bollards to keep trailgoers and vehicles separated, and will have water fountains, benches, bike racks and other amenities along its length.

The $391,500 project is funded by Manatee County and Bradenton Beach.

Controversy erupted when a change order on the job spurred the removal of 66 Australian pine trees along the trail's route, more than the 37 trees that were originally marked for removal.

The latest snafu in the project was one of a permitting nature.

Tom Yarger, the county's parks and recreation project manager in charge of the trail work, said that permit requests had been submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Southwest Florida Water Management District in a "clearinghouse" move.

The various agencies reviewed the plans about a year ago. The Corps waived jurisdiction, Yarger said, as did the DEP. Swiftmud ended up with the plans, and determined it would exempt the project from any permits.

Once work began, though, a DEP representative called for a halt.

"The DEP claimed jurisdiction and halted the project," Yarger told the city's scenic highway committee last week. "They admitted they were at fault [for waiving jurisdiction], and are reviewing the project. We expect to have a permit in the next few weeks."

Yarger said that the DEP's Fritz Wettstein halted the project. Wettstein is with the department's beaches and coastal systems division, which should have taken the authority on the trail project but for some reason did not until the project was under way.

Work was halted Feb. 14.

Another problem resulting from the delay is that the contractor, Billy Hay Excavating, had to pull crews and equipment off the job, and will have to re-mobilize equipment and resources once the permit is in hand.

Cost of that re-mobilization is estimated at $46,000, Yarger said, "although we are working with the contractor to get that number down."

Australian pine tree removal has prompted an outpouring of commentary from residents and others. Some of those comments have been pro-pine, while others have applauded the removal of what is generally considered by state officials to be a non-native, noxious tree.

"The charm of the area is in the Australian pines," Gail Blackmore said last month. "It seems sad. They aren't native, but there are lots of things in Florida that aren't native."

Yarger said that the trail configuration was somewhat constrained, and to keep parking at the public beach, the extra tree removal was required. He added that he hoped to draw trees from a special "tree trust fund" within Manatee County to replace the pines with native Florida shade trees after the trail work is completed.

Native plant expert Mike Miller of Anna Maria presented the scenic highway group with a list of Florida plants that he said would thrive in the high-salt, low-water environment of the trail's path.

He suggested that with initially judicious watering, trees and understory plantings could flourish in a short period of time.

"Coquina Beach should be a forest," he said, "stretching from the dunes back to Leffis Key. I don't think that 3,000 cabbage palms would be too many."

Miller even donated the first of the native-Florida plantings to the city - a 12-foot Gumbo Limbo branch, which he said merely needed to be stuck into the ground and watered frequently to grow into a leafy shade tree.

Yarger said he hoped the Coquina Beach Trail would be completed by its expected deadline of April 30.

Have your say:

No comments for this page. Feel free to be the first

Username:

Contact:

(email or url)

Subject:

Your View:

Please enter the security code below:

security  

Get breaking news

Follow the Islander on TwitterBecome a fan of The Islander on Facebook

Sign up to receive breaking news alerts via e-mail. We'll send you a notice when the news and classifieds appear online every week, before the print edition hits the streets.

Click here for Gulf oil spill updates related to Anna Maria Island.

Historic Anna Maria City Pier Plank Walk

Put your name, your message, your memorial on the Historic Anna Maria City Pier prior to the Pier Centennial Celebration! And join the fun!

CLICK HERE for Stoltzfus e-mails and related court documents.


FREE Island
Vacation Guide:
get it here

Cortez Cookoff

Click here for 2010 Cortez Cookoff Winner and recipes

To advertise here, please
visit our rates page
or contact us at:
sales@islander.org
Phone: (941) 778-7978
Fax: (941) 778-9392

Back to top of Page

Home | Weather | Real Estate | Classifieds | Archives | Contact | Island Links
Islander Store | Subscribe About this site | Classifieds Page | Place an Ad
For Sale | Garage Sales | Announcements | Lost & Found | Pets | Transportation
Boats & Boating | Fishing | Kids for Hire | Help Wanted | Health Care | Services
Lawn & Garden | Landscaping | Home Improvement | Business Opportunities | Rentals | Real Estate

Our Privacy and Copyright Statements © 1992 - 2009, The Islander