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Date of Issue: September 17, 2008

Committee considers boardwalk for city pier area

Anna Maria’s transportation enhancement grant committee at its Sept. 8 meeting gave consensus to an ambitious project for the city pier - constructing a boardwalk along the waterfront to attract visitors and make their city pier experience “pleasurable and memorable,” said City Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick, who chairs the committee.

The committee - charged by the city commission with overseeing where and how an upcoming $358,000 federal grant for improvements in the retail-office-residential district should be spent - has already made improving the area of the city pier a priority. Now the committee wants to go a step further and enhance the entire pier area with a boardwalk, native plants and other landscaping, along with a trolley shelter designed in the old-Florida ambiance found on Pine Avenue and at the pier, said Mattick.

And there’s good news associated with the shelter. 

That portion of enhancement at the pier could be funded by the Manatee County Area Transit. However, when MCAT first implemented the Island trolley in 2002, Anna Maria residents rejected shelters, opting instead for benches with no protection against the elements.

Mattick, however, believes times have changed and a newly designed trolley shelter should fit with the look of Pine Avenue and the pier will give visitors and residents alike a memorable experience.

 Contractor and committee member Steve Kring volunteered to build a model shelter for public viewing before the committee moves forward on that phase of pier enhancements. The planned shelter will be wood construction, bear up under the elements and fit with the pier’s character, he pledged.

The committee also wants to redesign the trolley turnaround at the pier, move the trash enclosure from the north end of the parking lot, install parking bumpers, and is considering the addition of some pavilions.

 Although the $358,000 is a federal grant, the Florida Department of Transportation oversees its disbursement and is providing technical and engineering design services at no cost to the city.

The committee is moving in a step-by-step direction for improvements at the suggestion of Mike Piazza of the DOT, who cautioned that the U.S. government “doesn’t like to see areas of multiple work” when federal funds are involved. Concentrate on just one aspect” of the project, he suggested.

TEG members have until July 2009 to submit a list of enhancement projects to the DOT, Piazza said. The DOT will make the final selection on the feasibility of projects with the available funds. The grant is expected to be in the DOT’s 2010-11 budget.

Mattick also welcomed a new member to the committee Sept. 8. Former Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn was recently appointed to the committee by her successor, Fran Barford.

Other members of the committee include Manon Lavoie of the DOT, and city residents Janet Aubry, Don Brownewell, Nancy Colcord, Mike Coleman, Tim Eiseler, Steve Kring, Cindy Mansour, Sissy Quinn, Mary Selby and Betty Yanger.

The TEG usually meets at 6:30 p.m. at city hall on the first Monday of every month and the public is encouraged to attend.

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