Updated April 4, 2018
ANNA MARIA – City Commissioners voted Tuesday, April 3 that the exteriors of the restaurant and bait shop/bar built at the end of the new Anna Maria City Pier will feature brown Kebony hardwood siding, similar to what will be used for the pier decking.
The special meeting began with commissioners discussing the five siding options presented by Schimberg: HardiePanel, HardiePlank, beveled cedar, Cypress Select and Kebony. Schimberg recommended the Kebony siding. He said it would weather naturally but unevenly to a grayish hue that would depend on its exposure to the sun.
“I certainly am leaning toward the HardiePlank, and it is fireproof,” Commissioner Doug Copeland countered.
Listed as the second-cheapest option, the cement-based HardiePlank had an estimated cost of $1.25 per square foot and a total estimated cost was $6,250 for 5,000 square feet of siding.
Commissioner Amy Tripp made a motion to use the Kebony siding at $8.50 per square foot and a total cost of $42,500 – which is $36,250 more than the HardiePlank. Commissioners Carol Carter and Dale Woodland supported Tripp’s motion. Copeland and Commissioner Brian Seymour did not, but the motion carried 3-2.
Saxena said the siding decision concluded the commission’s selection process for the pier materials. The commission previously decided on concrete spun pilings and Kebony decking.
Jay Saxena from Ayres Associates provided the City Commission with an updated construction schedule during the meeting. Ayres is designing the pier and architect Barron Schimberg is designing the pier buildings.
In mid-May, demolition of the existing pier will begin with the removal of the engraved pier planks, according to city officials. Construction of the new pier is expected to begin in late August. Construction of the restaurant and bait shop buildings is slated to begin in April 2019. Completion of the entire pier project is anticipated for December 2019, if not sooner.
Mayor Dan Murphy said he’s received many emails about rails being erected along the pier’s edges. He said public opinion was split about evenly between pleas for railings and pleas for no railings. Murphy said the 108-year-old pier originally had railings, but they were removed at some point.
City resident Sissy Quinn said she favored no railings because that’s how the pier has looked for the past 30 years. She felt the no-railing look would maintain the traditional pier appearance people have become accustomed to.
Carter asked how many people have fallen off the pier. Murphy said he was aware of two people falling off the pier, both of whom were intoxicated.
The commission voted 5-0 in favor of no rails, but expressed interest in increasing the height of the wooden curbing along pier edges to provide additional safety for those using wheelchairs and strollers.
Saxena said the Army Corps of Engineers has issued the city a permit for the demolition of the existing pier, but has not yet issued a permit for the construction of a new pier. The permit Ayres first applied for was for demolition and construction, but the Corps wanted the two permits separated, in part because a seagrass study is required before new construction begins.
Seymour asked Saxena if there was any risk the city could be denied a permit to build a new pier after demolishing the existing pier. Saxena said that when dealing with a federal agency anything was possible, but he did not anticipate any problems. He said the existing pier was never properly permitted and the Army Corps is eager to have a properly permitted pier there.
Murphy said pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder has met twice with Schimberg and has one more meeting scheduled for April 9. Schoenfelder has shared his input on what he feels the tenant needs in the restaurant and bait shop spaces.
Schimberg said these conversations resulted in the addition of exterior weather curtains that can be dropped to block the westerly winds that blow through what will be a covered open-air dining area between the restaurant and bait shop.
Schimberg showed commissioners the revised plans and renderings for the pier buildings. He said the bait shop bar would feature sliding glass windows and an outdoor counter that wraps around the west end of the building. A previously discussed trellised shade feature above the bait shop’s outdoor tables has been removed.
Murphy also discussed Schoenfelder’s potential financial contributions to the project should he decide to renew and modify his current lease that expires in December 2020. He said Schoenfelder expressed initial interest in paying for the interior buildouts that include plumbing, electrical work, ceilings, floors, restaurant equipment and more, but he is not willing to pay for the air conditioning units or duct work.