County reviews bids for marine rescue HQ
Manatee County is moving forward with plans for a marine rescue headquarters south of Leffis Key in Bradenton Beach.
The headquarters has been in the planning stage for a decade, said Bill Hutchison, director of public safety for the county.
County officials have received bids on the project and were preparing to review them as The Islander went to press. Project costs — from architectural fees to permitting to construction — are not to exceed $1 million.
“The facility will provide a work space for the marine rescue lifeguards, storage space for all their gear and vehicles, a conference and lecture room that may be used by schools and teachers when doing field trips, training facilities for lifeguards, lockers for personal effects and computer facilities for employees, etc,” Hutchison said.
He said the headquarters also will contain work and storage space for the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office marine deputy branch.
“A dock in the rear of the building will be used by (MCSO) for their boats,” Hutchison said.
“They are currently being stationed at Regatta Point on the northwest side of the Green Bridge. They will move to the new facility, which will put them much closer to their area of operations.”
The marine rescue lifeguards who work on the beach currently store gear in the lift station on Coquina Beach near the rest rooms.
“This will be a blessing for them,” Hutchison said of the new building.
The county issued a request for proposals on the project a couple of months ago and the bidding period closed May 8.
“There was considerable interest in the project and we had many, many requests for drawing packages,” Hutchison said.
A completion date — or even a construction start date — was not available.
Hutchison emphasized that the permitting process for the bayfront facility is “extremely rigorous.