HOLMES BEACH — It’s "full
steam ahead" for TideMark and its
new “beach component,” The
Beach Inn, according to project developers
Reliance TideMark Partners.
"We will close the Beach Inn and
begin renovating it in 30 to 60 days," said
Lance McNeill, one of the partners in
Reliance Tidemark. "We’re
working with our contractor to finalize
"All the plans are done. The 18
units will be totally ovated, and we’ll
increase the size of the units."
McNeill said the company closed on refinancing
the Beach Inn on Thursday and is getting
the construction money lined up to move
forward with the project.
"Reliance completed the deal and
stepped up and assisted on the financial
side," he explained. "There
needs to be a beach component and the
Beach Inn is a great start. It’s
a compliment to the new construction
Meanwhile at TideMark, McNeill said
there has been $5 to 6 million in work
done to date, which includes dredging
the boat basin, constructing the seawall,
driving the pilings, pouring the foundation
and installing underground utilities
"The utilities are being completed
now," McNeill said. "The vertical
construction has been out to bid for
a month and we’re finalizing our
negotiations. One of our major concerns
is putting construction materials on
site during hurricane season.
"There will be no changes in the
architecture, the number of units or
the theme. The character and local flavor
of the Island is what makes this project
so unique. We’re excited about
it. We think it will have a positive
impact on the Island."
McNeill said people should see vertical
construction by the first of the year,
if all goes well.
TideMark is offering one-and two-bedroom
condominium units with pre-construction
prices ranging from $580,000 to $1.94
million Each of the 40 TideMark condominium
units will have first option on the 62
slips in the adjacent boat basin.
boat ramps planned for village
sun staff writer
CORTEZ – Long-term
plans for the Manatee Fruit Co. flower
farm in Cortez include a residential
development and a public boat ramp
facility, company President Whiting
Preston announced last week.
Plans for the 350-acre
development are still in the study
phase, Preston said, but the family-owned
company is already working with the
county under a public-private partnership
on the boat ramp facility.
would be a shared responsibility for
construction," he said, adding
that plans include two or three boat
ramps on Palma Sola Bay, parking spaces
for 70 boat trailers and 20 cars and
a dry dock marina.
"Because of the
condominiumizing of boat facilities,
public access to the water is something
that I think everybody sees a need
for," he said, adding that the
county approached the company with
The site was selected
after a long process of elimination,
said Bill O’Shea, who is coordinating
the project for the county. The county
commission asked its staff to identify
potential boat ramp sites, and after
presenting 15 sites, the staff ranked
two sites on Manatee Fruit Co. property
first and second, he said. The flower
farm west of the Sunny Shores mobile
home park was selected as the best.
Another site at the renovated
Sunny Shores Marina, now Parrot Cove,
was suggested by marina owner Bob Gertz
in 2004, but commissioners decided
the site didn’t provide enough
public access to justify spending $106,000
in public funds to dredge his channel.
Another potential site
at the Seafood Shack restaurant a few
blocks west of the farm drew vehement
opposition from the Cortez community,
primarily residents north of Cortez
Road who said the ramp would pose traffic
"This takes the
impacts away from the existing residential
and plans it with the rest of this
community," Preston said.
Attorney Caleb Grimes,
representing Manatee Fruit Co., presented
a conceptual site plan of the boat
ramp facility to the commission last
A traffic study concluded
that the main entrance should be at
119th Street West, he said, where a
new traffic light and turn lane were
recently installed. At the southeast
corner of the intersection is the new
Florida Maritime Museum.
"We want the boating
public to get in and out easily," Grimes
Dry boat storage with
a marine store and public restrooms
will be made to look almost like a
home, he added.
A private dry boat storage
facility was approved by the commission
in June a few blocks east of the farm – the
Bradenton Boat Club "rackominium" will
have three buildings with 272 dry slips
and 22 wet slips.
Commissioners Joe McClash
and Jane von Hahmann congratulated
the company on the plan, and the commission
passed a motion to allow the company
to develop the boat ramp facility.
No timetable has been
set, Preston said.
new boat ramps in the works
sun staff writer
Manatee County commissioners
last week received updates on three
proposed boat ramps and a report on
improvements to existing boat ramps
from Environmental Manager Bill O’Shay.
The three proposed boat
ramps are west of Sunny Shores on Manatee
Fruit Company property in Cortez, north
of Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton
and adjacent to the Sunshine Skyway
O’Shay said in
September 2005, he showed the board
a plan for the Sunny Shores boat ramp
and commissioners voted to allow the
Manatee Fruit Company to develop it
as a component of a residential development
Attorney Caleb Grimes,
representing the Manatee Fruit Company,
presented a conceptual sit plan and
said company officials didn’t
want to adversely impact homes on the
canal there or overburden the main
entrance to existing homes with traffic
to the ramp.
"We wanted to make
something that the public could come
in and out very easily," Grimes
said. "We looked at traffic concerns.
We came up with a design that would
work and enable us to come up with
a plan that would be a public/private
He said designers proposed
an upland canal to connect with Palma
Sola Bay at the north end and to create
an internal harbor area at the south
end. There would be boat storage, a
marine store, public restrooms and
a boat ramp.
"Access would be
on 119th Street at the traffic light," Grimes
said. "We were able to put in
70 boat spaces plus 20 car spaces associated
just with the boat ramp."
The board told Grimes
to continue to work with O’Shay
and Conservation Lands Management Department
Administrator Charlie Hunsicker on
O’Shay said a survey
of the area north of Manatee Memorial
Hospital that is planned for a new
ramp showed that the land east of the
bridge on U.S 41 is in unincorporated
county and the land west of the bridge
is in the city of Bradenton.
at locating the ramp further east from
the bridge in case the Florida Department
of Transportation ever needs right
of way to reconstruct the bridge," he
said. "A preliminary engineering
report will give us options on how
to develop it."
He said plans are to
construct a ramp with restroom facilities,
a bait shop and a concession stand
by June 2008, and he is coordinating
the project with Bradenton city staff.
A new boat ramp adjacent
to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is in
the beginning stages, O’Shay
said. He is working on it with Pinellas
and Hillsborough county officials and
representatives of the Tampa Bay Regional
Reconfiguring the parking
lot at Kingfish ramp is planned for
June 2007, O’Shay said. Adding
an ADA (Americans with Disabilities
Act) sidewalk and parking space and
restrooms are planned for June 2008.
He said there is damage
to the seawall cap from commercial
vessels, which is being monitored,
and he noted, "As it worsens we
will have to replace or repair it."
O’Shay said seaweed
buildup on the ramp is a problem and
county workers remove it daily. Chairman
Joe McClash suggested installing a
break wall to prevent it from coming
ashore, and O’Shay said he would
investigate the possibility.
issues with that boat ramp with the
city of Holmes Beach and community
to the west (Westbay Cove)," Commissioner
Jane von Hahmann pointed out. "Since
that is the entry to Holmes Beach,
they are concerned about us developing
a parking lot to the west of the welcome
She said the other issue
is that the Palma Sola Scenic Highway
Committee secured a grant to replace
the portable restroom there with a
permanent facility, but city officials
said they did not want it.
"If anything we
need to have them understand that a
permanent restroom is a better call
here," she said.
McClash said the county
attorney’s office is researching
jurisdiction of the ramp area.
"We just got the
survey back, and it is not in Holmes
Beach or the city of Bradenton," County
Attorney Tedd Williams responded. "We
are still looking for documents to
prove ownership. That’s a little
He said his office plans
to order a title search.
O’Shay said since
January 2005, the county has spent
$20,966 at Kingfish.
O’Shay said that
at the Coquina North ramp engineering
to widen and replace the ramp, refurbish
the docks and expand the parking lot
should be completed in October.
“That would give
us some options as far as how to go
about improving that facility with
some costs associated with that," O’Shay
said. ‘We expect to have the
facility refurbished by June 2007."
He said since January
2005, money spent or encumbered on
the ramp is $28,200.
At Coquina South ramp,
a concrete apron was constructed in
February and the dock was refurbished
in June. Plans are to reconfigure and
extend the parking lot by June 2007,
install sheet piling with a cap to
keep sand from accumulating on the
ramp by December 2007 and make it more
Since January 2005, the
county has spent $47,965 on the work.
McClash asked about commercial
vessels using the ramp.
"Part of the reason
we had to rebuild the ramp is because
there were barges involved with the
Longboat Key dredging tied up to that
facility," O’Shay replied.
"They cause damage.
We researched county ordinances and
found one that prohibits commercial
vessels from utilizing county ramp
O’Shay said his
office has contacted the Sheriff’s
Office asking it to enforce the ordinance.
McClash said he has
seen other vessels there and suggested
that the board revisit the ordinance.
better Bayfest planned
By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH – Cindy Thompson
has a reputation for putting together
extraordinary events. She helped
organize several festivals for the
Anna Maria Elementary School PTO
and made last year’s Bayfest
on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria a stunning
success. How will she top it this
She won’t have to because
she’s enlisting the help of
a group of volunteers who already
have a new layout and are working
on booking more and better booths,
food vendors, music and fun for the
kids. Bayfest, sponsored by the Anna
Maria Island Sun and the Anna Maria
Island Chamber of Commerce, will
be held on Saturday, Oct. 21.
The planners met Aug. 29 at the
Chamber of Commerce and unveiled
some marked improvements.
"We are so much further along
than we were last year," Thompson
told committee members. "It’s
For one thing, visitors won’t
have to suffer the indignities and
heat of Port-A-Potties this year.
Organizers have contracted with a
supplier who will offer six air-conditioned
restrooms on three trailers. It costs
a little more, but they figured it
would be worth it.
Bayfest will offer something new
for food aficionados - a crab cake
cook-off. Chefs from various restaurants
will compete in this event, which
will be judged by food critics from
the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Bay
News 9 and Taste magazine.
"We didn’t want the judges
to be local residents because we
wanted then to be unbiased, and when
you live out here, you tend to have
your favorites," Thompson said.
The layout of the event, which is
the first festival of the fall season,
has changed. The food court will
be moved from the Bayfront Plaza
parking lot to the north Roser Memorial
Community Church lot. That puts it
closer to the people walking up and
down the street and closer to the
adult entertainment stage and the
refreshment dispensers. Thompson
said they have room for 20 vendors
and can make room for more. Diners
will sit beneath large tents to enjoy
their food in the shade.
Across the street, children will
have opportunities to climb a wall
and explore sea life up close in
a touch tank. Raymond, from the Tampa
Bay Devil Rays, will be there with
baseball paraphernalia and souvenirs.
There will be a kid’s music
area with Dave Moran with kid’s
school rock, "A Century of Broadway" with
Trina and Holly Rizzo, the Edison
school band, the Swinging Cats of
Rhythm, led by Jimi Gee.
For the adults, the live music includes
Dr. Dave, Koko Ray and Almost Famous.
Organizers are working on more acts
Bayfest has been innovative in bringing
entertainment to Island festivals.
In addition to introducing the crab
cake cook-off, it will again offer
a classic and antique auto show organized
by Bill Mergens. Last year’s
turnout was down because there was
another auto show in the area.
Mergens said this year, Bayfest
will be the only game in town. He
expects 100 hot rods and restored
classics, and they will again have
a disc jockey on hand playing oldies.
Organizers hope to have as many
as 100 vendors offering arts, crafts,
home furnishings and other unique
items. There will also be an area
for not-for-profit organizations
such as Mote Marine, the city of
Anna Maria’s Environmental
Education and Enhancement Committee
and other environmental groups.
To sign up as a vendor, call Thompson
at 761-4766 or the Chamber at 778-1541.
urged to coordinate evacuation plans
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH — Manatee
County Emergency Management Chief Laurie
Feagans urged Island elected officials
to coordinate their contingency plans
in the event of a hurricane.
"We really wanted
to get a dialogue going on where you
are planning on going should the storm
be coming here," Feagans said
at a recent meeting of the Island Emergency
Bradenton Beach Lt. John
Cosby said officials of all three cities
plan to evacuate to Shorewalk in Bradenton.
"Is that facility
going to be hardened and shuttered?
Feagans asked. "Can you bring
Cosby said the condominium
is not hardened but officials have
asked for inside units.
Feagans said representatives
of her office have met with Manatee
Community College officials and identified
a campus building that could be used
as an evacuation location for Island
a two-story building there," she
said. "It is rated for 120 mph
wind. There’s a culinary arts
classroom with a kitchen.
dialogue with the chief of security
and he was very agreeable of possibly
making that the Island relocation.
The downside is that it’s not
on its own power."
Don Hermey, county emergency
planner, said there are about 12 classrooms
that are 30 feet by 30 feet in the
building. He said part of the parking
area would be a staging area for FPL
after the storm.
Cosby noted that the
Shorewalk is "a place to stay,
not a place to run the operations of
the government. I like this. I think
it’s a great idea. We could try
and run the government as best as we
can from that spot and then still have
the condo as a place to go with their
He pointed out that "every
time the storm rounds the corner down
there, everybody from down south has
already evacuated up here and filled
up all the rooms. By the time we’re
ready to have to make a decision and
go, there’s no place to go."
“We think it would
be a great option for you," Feagans
said. "You’d all be in one
Feagans said in the event
of a Category 3 or higher storm, emergency
personnel would go to the alternate
EOC on 26th Avenue in Bradenton. She
said the space is very limited and
urged Island officials to rotate duty
Cosby said the mayors
of the three Island cities go to the
EOC, but his city and Holmes Beach
alternate a police representative on
"We did this the
last two years and it worked out very
well," he said.
He suggested that Feagans
talk to the mayors at the next meeting
of the Coalition of Barrier Island
Elected Officials and ask them to develop
a rotation schedule.
Darwin: In tune with Island teens
sun staff writer
Darwin is in tune with the teens that
he leads as the coordinator of the
Island Community Center’s teen
working with teens," Darwin said. "The
kids gravitated very quickly to me."
With a background in
political science and religious studies,
Darwin, 32, became the coordinator
of the REACH (Responsible Educated
Adolescents Can Help) program in February.
The program has about 95 participants
ranging from 11 to 17 years old.
Darwin offers a range
of growth, volunteer and reward activities,
all "geared toward the attainment
of new knowledge and skills in adolescent
development and participation in community
The group’s volunteer
projects include food and blood drives,
helping with Community Center fundraisers
such as the fishing tournament and
participating in Bradenton Beach’s
Eco Expo, the Florida Gulf Coast Outdoor
Festival at Coquina Beach and Better
"They give me seven
to eight volunteer hours a month and
that allows them to go to the fun things
the next month," Darwin explained.
Fun activities include
trips to theme and state parks, playing
paintball, going to the movies, roller
skating, mini golf and having Friday
night pizza and movie parties. During
the past summer, they were at Manatee
County Public beach twice a week to
The teens also have fundraisers
such as car washes to pay for their
fun activities, which gives them experience
in handling money.
Growing and learning
Growth activities include
homework, help, girls’ and boys’ nights,
discussions of world events, writing
workshops, art projects and sports.
world events gives them a better understanding
of the world around them and lets them
know that the world doesn’t revolve
around them," Darwin said.
Girls’ and boys’ nights
give the teens a chance to talk about
issues they would not normally discuss
in mixed company. Arts and writing
sessions help them refine their talent
and develop their creativity.
"The Community Center
is like a family for these kids," Darwin
said. "They have grown up here.
Knowing them by name and knowing who
they are produces better behavior,
and if they excel at something, people
This summer Darwin teamed
with members of the Anna Maria Island
Young Professionals to offer a job-shadowing
included Will Bouziane, real estate
associate; David Zaccagnino, financial
planner; Brandy Booth, AMI Chamber
administrative assistant; Rob Dalke,
computer technician; Jeff Capello,
stockbroker; and Derek Pettigrew, real
During shadowing, the
teens were instructed to ask the professional
questions regarding his/her job and
record the answers. Sample questions
were provided on a form. They also
recorded the professional’s job
duties The teens then shared the answers
with each other.
"The purpose is
to give them an idea of what the real
world is like," Darwin said, " and
to give them a sense of direction.
It gives them goals and the idea of
a positive future and gets them thinking
about college or continuing their education."
The teens are currently
meeting at the Holmes Beach Public
Works building next to the skate park
while the new Community Center is being
built. For information on joining the
group, call the Community Center at
sun staff writer
High concentrations of
red tide were found last week from
Manatee County south to Charlotte County,
including at New Pass at the southern
tip of Longboat Key, according to the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Research
Institute in St. Petersburg.
Water samples collected
six to 12 miles offshore between Longboat
Pass at the northern tip of Longboat
Key and Johns Pass in Pinellas County
contained medium to high concentrations
of red tide. Fish kills and respiratory
irritation have been reported on Longboat
Key and Anna Maria Island.
Tests on two skimmers
and two laughing gulls found dead in
Anna Maria last month showed traces
of red tide in the stomach of one gull,
probably from consuming tainted fish,
said Danielle Stanek, a veterinarian
with the Florida Fish and Wildlife
The bloom of the Florida
red tide organism, Karenia brevis,
continues to move north, with low concentrations
detected in southern Pinellas County
at Fort DeSoto, and high concentrations
1.5 miles offshore.
Internet updates on red
tide along Sarasota County beaches
are available in the new Beach Conditions
Report provided by lifeguards to Mote
Marine Laboratory at 10 a.m. and 3
whether dead fish are present, whether
beachgoers are experiencing respiratory
irritation, the water color, the wind
direction and the flags flying at the
by scientists at Mote, the Florida
Department of Health and other institutions
suggest that individuals with certain
chronic lung problems should be aware
of beach conditions," said Andrew
Reich, manager of the Aquatic Toxins
Program for the Florida Department
"This is the first
step in providing a real-time reporting
system for people to use before they
head to the coast."
The updates are slated
to expand to other beaches and be available
by telephone soon, according to Mote.
general can’t answer charter
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH — The
state attorney general’s office
has declined to answer a question from
the city attorney regarding filling
seats on the charter review commission.
According to the city’s
charter, five members of a charter
review commission, whose members are
elected in a regular election, must
review the charter every five years.
However, only one person qualified
to run for the charter review commission,
leaving four seats unfilled.
City Attorney Edward
Conrad had asked the attorney general’s
office for clarification.
"Opinions of this
office generally are not issued on
questions requiring an interpretation
only of local codes, ordinances or
charter rather than the provisions
of state law," Assistant Attorney
General Joslyn Wilson said.
are usually referred to the city attorney
for resolution as that office is better
able to discern the intent and purpose
underlying the adoption of such a provision."
Wilson said the city
has the authority to interpret its
own charter and can amend the charter
to resolve the issue.
According to the charter,
there are three ways to amendment it:
• By ordinance — The
commission can propose an amendment
to the charter. The amendment must
be placed on the ballot for the voters
to decide at the next general election
held in the city or at a special election.
• By petition — The
electors of the city may propose an
amendment by presenting a petition
signed by at least 10 percent of the
total number of qualified voters registered
to vote in the last regular city election.
• By charter review
commission — This option is out
because the charter review commission
is the issue.