ANNA MARIA – The i+iconSoutheast construction crane has returned to the Anna Maria City Pier construction site and repairs to the accident-damaged pier resumed late last week.
The barge upon which the crane sits crashed into the pier walkway on Tuesday, Sept. 10. The accident damaged the pier walkway about two-thirds of the way out.
Two concrete pilings damaged in the accident were removed on Sept. 19 so new pilings could be driven in their place.
On Sept 20, i+iconSoutheast Project Director Paul Johnson told Mayor Dan Murphy a damaged boom line was discovered on the crane. The crane was then demobilized and repaired. It returned to the pier construction site on Thursday, Sept. 26.
During the Sept. 26 city commission meeting, Murphy said he expected the new pilings to be driven the following day. He also said he was told the construction crew would be working on Saturday as well.
“Once the piles are driven, the beam has to be put on top and then they have to do the stringer work and then the conduits,” Murphy said of the repairs to be made. “The downside of this accident is we’re unable to start the construction on the restaurant and the bait shop.”
Murphy said those construction materials have been delivered to the pier’s T-end, but the construction of the new restaurant and bait shop cannot begin until the breach in the damaged pier walkway is repaired.
Murphy said the barge accident and subsequent repairs will push back the originally anticipated late December-early January pier opening.
“I would estimate late January, early February for an opening date of the shell of the pier, where people can return to the pier, fish and things of that nature. That would be the earliest date,” Murphy said.
It was stated at a previous meeting that the interior buildout of the restaurant and bait shop can take place while the completed pier walkway and T-end decking are open to the public.
Pier lease update
During last week’s meeting, Murphy told the commission that he and commission candidate Mark Short – a retired certified public accountant – recently spent time together exploring options on the amount of rent to be charged for the lease of the new city pier.
“The numbers have to be fine-tuned. We’re close,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he planned to communicate that information to current pier tenant Mario Schoenfelder within five days. Murphy said it would be premature to disclose the proposed rent figures discussed, but he expects to provide the commission with that information soon.
Schoenfelder hopes to enter into a new long-term lease with the city and maintain his presence on the city pier that began in 2000. Murphy and Schoenfelder recently exchanged emails in which they discussed parking considerations and insurance responsibilities for the city’s pier tenant.
Schoenfelder estimated he will have 100 to 115 seats inside and outside of the new restaurant and bait shop and he needs to know how many pier parking spaces the city will lease to its pier tenant. He also asked whether the city would consider installing some form of gated parking to restrict the use of those designated parking spaces.