Kebony decking selected for new pier

Pier Rendering
The rendering by Barron Schimberg illustrates the preliminary, non-finalized plans for the new structures to be at the end of the new Anna Maria City Pier.

ANNA MARIA – Commissioners decided on the look and feel of the decking for the new Anna Maria City Pier today.

On Tuesday, City Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of Kebony hardwood being the material of choice for the new pier’s decking.

At an estimated cost of $3.24 per linear foot, the Kebony decking will be placed atop the concrete spun pilings and concrete support frames approved at the commission’s previous pier meeting.

Kebony is a modified wood product made of 25- to 30-year-old pine that is then modified to give it characteristics similar to tropical hardwoods. It will eventually fade to a shade of gray that resembles the existing wooden pier.

The Kebony is touted as being more stable than natural wood, splinter-free, barefoot-friendly and cooler to the touch. It comes with a 30-year warranty and a life expectancy of 50-75 years.

After Commissioner Carol Carter made the motion, the commission voted in favor of the Kebony decking, with Commissioner Dale Woodland casting the lone opposition vote. Woodland again expressed his preference that the existing pier be rebuilt as it was instead of completely replaced.

Carter made her motion after Commissioner Brian Seymour’s motion to go with IPE Brazilian hardwood decking at $3.91 per foot failed to garner any support from the other commissioners.

The commission did not give any serious consideration to the Azek composite product offered as a third decking option.

With these material selections made, Ayres Associates Vice President Jay Saxena told the commission the design firm now has the direction it needs to proceed with the design of the primary pier structure and decking.

Architect Barron Schimberg then presented preliminary plans and a 360-degree rendering of the proposed restaurant space, bar and bait shop to be built at the end of the pier.

No final decisions were made at the meeting regarding the preliminary restaurant and bait shop designs for the wood buildings that will resemble the appearance of the current buildings.

Schimberg’s design included metal roofs and a roof covering the space between the restaurant and the bait shop.

Schimberg recommends a trellised and skewered shade structure above most of the tables to be placed in the open space behind the bait shop.

He suggested that the commission consider sliding windows and doors in the restaurant space in order to allow for more of an open-air feel, when weather permits.

He also suggested installing solar panels atop the restaurant and bait shop.

Seymour suggested the solar panels and shade structure might be decisions that require some input from the pier tenant, whoever that turns out to be. Current tenant Mario Schoenfelder’s pier lease expires in December 2020 and the new pier would most likely open some time in 2019.

Mayor Dan Murphy said he planned to meet with Schoenfelder soon to discuss the tenant’s role and potential contributions to the construction project. The city and Schoenfelder must at some point determine whether he will remain the pier tenant after his lease expires.

During public comment, Anna Maria resident Dennis Ellsworth said the design presented by Schimberg made it look like the whole pier was a restaurant. Holmes Beach resident and frequent pier patron Mike Deal said the shade structure on the backside of the bait shop would ruin the pier for him, because he prefers the existing open space where a larger group of people can congregate. The existing pier will remain closed until it is demolished and replaced by a new pier.