Quinn helping raise funds for pier

Anna Maria resident Sissy Quinn is leading a grassroots fundraising effort for the Anna Maria City Pier. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – Resident Sissy Quinn is trying to raise $100,000 or more to help build a new city pier.

Quinn has set up a GoFundMe page that is affiliated with her Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust, a 501(c)3 charitable organization that enables folks to make tax-deductible donations to the pier replacement efforts.

To be constructed of composite or concrete pilings, and wood or composite decking, Mayor Dan Murphy has estimated it will cost approximately $3.2 million to build a new pier structure and walkway. Approximately $1.3 million in additional funds will be needed to construct the new restaurant and bait shop spaces at the pier’s T-end.

Murphy, the City Commission and the city are seeking $750,000 in state appropriation funds from the Florida Legislature and up to $1.5 million in county tourist tax funds through the Manatee County Tourist Development Council and the Board of County Commissioners. The city will also pursue $330,000 in surplus beach concession revenues. These anticipated state and county funding sources total $2.58 million.

Murphy has had preliminary discussions with pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder about his potential contributions and corporate sponsorship may also be pursued.

Quinn the fundraiser

Quinn is trying to help fill some of the anticipated remaining funding gap. She discussed these efforts last week while sitting near the entrance to the aging pier that was closed due to hurricane damage in September.

Anna Maria City Pier
The Anna Maria City Pier is not expected to reopen for at least another year. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

Quinn has lived in Anna Maria for 27 years. She started the GoFundMe page a couple months ago, but just recently begun promoting the fundraising effort.

“The page is active and the easiest way to find it is go to the GoFundMe website and search for the Anna Maria City Pier. Our goal is $100,000. We really think we can get up to $100,000 and it would be nice if we could get up to $200,000. It would take some pressure off the city,” she said.

“I think everybody that has come to visit the Island or lives here has some kind of attachment to the pier. I know I do. There are lots of people that are going to come visit this year and be really upset that they can’t go out on the pier. If they can contribute something to bring it back quicker, I think they’ll do it.

“The pier is iconic. For years it’s been said it was the top tourism attraction to Anna Maria Island. If everybody just throws in $5 it’s going to help. I’m looking for the little people like me who really care about the pier. I do feel they’re out there. It’s a good cause and a historic cause,” Quinn said.

“The mayor and I met before Christmas, and I told him I would be willing as a non-profit to start the GoFundMe page, and he thought that would be a good idea. GoFundMe has a PayPal giving page, so it’s all legitimate. All of the money that comes into me will be reported to the city. I also have a pier account here in the city if anyone wants to give me a check. LeAnne (the city clerk) and I will be working together to assure that the money we say is there is there, and there’s checks and balances between me and the city,” Quinn said.

When asked about Quinn’s efforts, Murphy said, “I’m very pleased she’s doing it. It’s a noble effort, and I commend Sissy’s efforts in trying to help the city with the pier.”

“The pier has always been one of my causes since I started the Preservation Trust nine years ago. The Trust bought the marker that tells the history of the pier. That was presented to the city on the pier’s 100-year anniversary in 2011,” Quinn said.

Quinn said the trust also played a significant role in getting the angler’s cottage moved to the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Museum property.

She invites those with questions to call her at 941-778-5120.