Mayor optimistic about state funds for new pier

Anna Maria City Pier
City officials hope the state Legislature will contribute $750,000 to the estimated $4.5 million construction of a new pier and pier structures. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

Updated Feb. 15, 2018

ANNA MARIA – The city’s request for $750,000 in state funds to help build a new pier has cleared another hurdle.

According to Mayor Dan Murphy, the bills containing the monetary request are moving through the Florida House and Senate.

“Commissioners: Some very good news! Our $750,000 appropriation bill for the city pier restoration has been approved and is included in both the House and the Senate final budgets,” Murphy wrote in a Feb. 9 email to city commissioners. “The next stop should be Gov. Scott’s office if all goes as planned.

“We owe a big thank you to Sen. Bill Galvano and Rep. Jim Boyd for making this a priority in their budget submissions. Also, both Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore and our lobbyist, Chip Case, played a big role behind the scenes in getting this funding through in record time. Keep your fingers crossed, your seat belts fastened and hope we make that final hurdle.”

The appropriations request originally filed by Boyd as House Bill 3107 is included on page 335 of the 431-page Senate appropriations bill, SB 2500.

The state appropriations request is part of Murphy and the city commission’s overall efforts to fund an estimated $4.5 million pier project that will also include a new restaurant space and bait shop at the pier’s end. Their goal is to build the new pier using as little ad valorem tax money from city residents as possible.

Manatee County commissioners have approved $1.5 million in county resort tax funds for the pier, and are considering the city’s request for $330,000 in county surplus beach concession revenues.

Potential contributions by pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder, additional corporate sponsorships and a grassroots online GoFundMe fundraising effort being led by city resident Sissy Quinn could help fill the remaining $1.92 million funding gap.

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