Vol 7 No. 14 - December 27, 2006

Mayor updates commission on projects

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

BRADENTON BEACH – According to Mayor John Chappie, there will be some big improvements in the way the city looks come August of next year.

Chappie updated the city commission on projects the city has undertaken after going through the files and records of the city’s projects/programs manager, which is vacant at this time due to the resignation of Dotty Poindexter in October.

Chappie said the city’s canal dredging project, which addresses the two small canals at the 20th Street area of the bay, is at a standstill while the city looks for a place to put the sand taken up from the canals, so it can dry out before being removed.

The city initially sought to place it at Herb Dolan Park, where it would be fenced from public access, but the scope of the job grew to the point that there would not be enough room. The city was looking at a second location on the northern bayside of Coquina Beach, where a park and ride for city employees is also being planned.

Chappie said that depends on how contaminated that sand is. He has planned a meeting with Building Official Ed McAdam and engineer Karen Erickson on Jan. 11 from 2 to 2:30 p.m. to discuss whether to phase the project over time or not do it at all, since the cost estimates have grown. The city has a grant to pay for some of it.

The city has also planned two improvement projects along Gulf Drive. One goes from Cortez Road north to the city limits and it calls for bicycle lanes on both side of the road.

"I met with Chris Piazzo (the engineer for the project) and he felt that the two $300,000 grants we have would be enough to pay for the lanes on both sides," Chappie said.

He suggested that the city use a $10,000 and a $20,000 grant, that it got to install a new welcome sign on the south end of the city, be used for for landscaping along the bike path instead. He said the old sign could be fixed up for less money.

Chappie said Piazzo would be at the Scenic Highway committee meeting on Jan. 9, at 1 p.m. to discuss the project. He said if all goes well, the bike lane project would start in July and be finished by August.

Another beautification project for Gulf Drive running south of Cortez Road to city limits is nearing the construction phase. That project would add landscaping along rights of way and street ends to the beach. It would also add a handicapped ramp on the beach and possibly public restrooms and showers at two street ends. Chappie said he had appointed McAdam as the city’s facilitator for that project and he would update the Scenic Highway committee on Jan. 9.

Chappie said construction could begin in April, if all goes well, and it, too, could be finished by August.

Chappie added that the city had gotten responses to its ads for a new projects/program manager and that he would make his recommendation on whom to hire at the commission’s first meeting in January.

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