Commission hears streetscape proposal
Cindy Lane | Sun
The Holmes Beach Merchants presented this plan to
redesign the commercial district at Gulf and
Marina drives by architect Gary Hoyt to the city
commission last week. The Holmes Beach commercial
district would benefit from two-laning Marina Drive, adding
a single-lane roundabout and creating on-street parking,
according to the Holmes Beach Merchants.
HOLMES BEACH – The Holmes Beach Commission encouraged the Holmes Beach Merchants last week to continue working on their plan to revamp the commercial district's streetscape on Marina and Gulf drives.
Located at the heart of Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach should have a thriving business district like Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach and Pine Avenue in Anna Maria, said Holmes Beach Merchants spokeswoman Amy Welch, who presented the Holmes Beach Commercial District Concept Plan designed by Gary Hoyt, of Sarasota-based Hoyt Architects, who designed Lakewood Ranch Main Street.
The city's marina would become the district's focal point, like the clock tower on Bridge Street and the pier on Pine Avenue, becoming a waterfront park, she said.
To enable shoppers to park and walk to the three shopping centers in downtown Holmes Beach, the plan would quiet traffic with a single-lane traffic circle at Gulf and Marina drives and remove two of Marina Drive's four lanes and its median to make it two lanes with on-street parking.
Emergency services may have trouble on a two-lane road, Commissioner Sandra Haas-Martens said. An alternate emergency route on Gulf Drive is also available, Welch responded.
The roundabout, which would be 30 percent larger than the one in Bradenton Beach, would make both vehicle and pedestrian traffic safer, according to Hoyt.
Welch said she is applying for grants from the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Keep Manatee Beautiful, BP and the Florida Department of Forestry, among others.
The merchants group should break the project down into phases, and be prepared to wait up to several years for certain grant funds to become available, Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said.
Ed Chiles, of the Pine Avenue Restoration project, and Mary Ann Brockman, president of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, praised the plan at a recent Holmes Beach Merchants meeting.
The Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee has expressed concern that the proposed landscaping, including royal poinciana, palms, hibiscus and crotons, are not native plants.