By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
BRADENTON BEACH When the city commission decided
to do a complete restoration of the Bridge Street Pier,
it figured the task would be slow and expensive. Now the
first estimates are in and it appears they were right.
The pier, which was shut down in December 2004, suffered
damage from Hurricane Frances earlier in the year. The
city revoked the franchise agreement with the company
that was running the restaurant and shut down the pier
for a short time to anglers when an engineers report
said the structure was becoming dangerous. The citys
public works department made temporary repairs and the
city decided to redesign the pier.
The pier team, consisting of Police Chief Sam Speciale,
Public Works Director Dottie Poindexter Building Official
Ed McAdam and City Commissioner Bill Shearon, reported
to the commission last week. The cost estimate was $1.8
million, which Shearon said had a lot of contingencies
built into it and might go up or down, depending on construction
costs and whether more repairs are needed.
Mayor John Chappie said due to the expense, the project
might have to be done in phases. In addition to rebuilding
the pilings and superstructure, plans call for a new restaurant,
a walkway to the south, around the restaurant to get to
the pier, a bait and tackle shop, a day dock area for
an eventual water taxi and a dock masters office
for a mooring field.
The plan that the pier team presented showed that the
city has submitted a request for a permit exemption from
the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and
is waiting for an extension of the piers footprint
to accommodate the walkway. The team will ask the commission
for a final design cost authorization from the architect
in the near future and will prepare lease options for
the dozen or more potential franchisees who have expressed
interest in running the restaurant. Shearon said they
would choose a franchisee before the final restaurant
plan is approved so that party could have input on the
The team has estimated that the whole project would take
until late summer of 2007, if everything goes as planned.
The city intends to use funds the its Community Redevelopment
Agency agreement to pay for part of the project. Chappie
has said all along that he would not allow any property
tax funds to be spent on it and has instructed Poindexter,
who is now the citys projects manager, to apply
for any grants that might pay for part of it.