Anna Maria appreciates county, state pier support

Anna Maria appreciates county, state pier support
The construction of the new Anna Maria City Pier has been a collaborative funding effort between the city, the county, the state and the federal government. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – City officials are grateful for the continued support the city’s receiving from the county and the state for the construction of the new Anna Maria City Pier.

On Monday, June 17, the Manatee County Tourist Development Council (TDC) recommended county commission approval of the city’s request for $435,000 in additional pier funding. The funding request still needs county commission approval, which is expected.

Anna Maria Commissioner Doug Copeland is a member of the TDC and he made the motion last week seeking the county commission’s support.

“I’m extremely pleased that the TDC has recommended to the county commission another $435,000. We’re grateful for what they’ve done in the past and this will go a long way toward completing the pier,” Copeland recently said.

“This is a big deal. Our residents will appreciate that this is $435,000 that doesn’t have to come out of the city’s general fund,” he added.

Mayor Dan Murphy is also happy.

“We’re very pleased. This helps us finish the pier project. We had a funding gap and the county helped fill half of that gap. The gap was created by FEMA not giving us the full amount they originally promised us,” Murphy said last week.

“I want to thank Elliott Falcione, County Commissioner Carol Whitmore and all the members of the TDC and the county commission for their support,” Murphy added.

Commissioner Carol Carter agrees.

“I’m thrilled with the additional support. We had to find additional funds after FEMA reduced what they planned to give us. I’m thrilled that the TDC and the county commission are stepping up with this additional assistance,” she said.

“We also appreciate the original funding the county provided. That was really important to us. Thanks to the TDC and Commissioner Carol Whitmore for their support. And hats off to our mayor, who’s pursued all these funding sources for the city – and for Doug’s good work as our TDC representative,” Carter said.

Funding snapshot

In previous budget years, Manatee County Commissioners pledged $1.5 million in TDC-recommended tourist tax revenue funds and $333,000 in surplus beach concession fund revenues for the pier project.

County Commission approval of the city’s latest request would bring the county’s total pier project contribution to more than $2.26 million.

On Friday, city officials learned Gov. Ron DeSantis approved the city’s $285,000 funding request supported by the Florida Legislature earlier this year. Last year, the Florida Legislature approved $750,000 in state funds for the pier.

Murphy and Carter previously expressed gratitude for the support and assistance provided this year by Senate President Bill Galvano, Senator Joe Gruters and State Rep. Will Robinson Jr.

FEMA is providing 810,000 in federal funds and an additional $135,000 in state funds.

According to Murphy, the city anticipates contributing approximately $712,000 to the project – and the contribution of the current and/or future pier tenant has not yet been determined.

Headed by city resident Sissy Quinn, the Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust is contributing $1,100 to the efforts.

According to Murphy, the latest estimated cost of the pier project is $4.97 million. The pier and the new restaurant and bait shop at the pier’s T-end are on track to reopen by year’s end.

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