BRADENTON BEACH – The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is exploring the possibility of replacing the unpainted Bridge Street Pier railings with white plastic PVC railings.
On Wednesday, Oct. 2, Public Works Director Tom Woodard encouraged CRA members to consider PVC railings instead of painting if they really want the pier railings to be white.
Woodard made his suggestion in response to the ongoing CRA debate and discussion about painting white the unpainted wooden pier railings and/or the railings on the clock tower boardwalk that leads to the pier.
In recent months, Woodard has consistently opposed painting the wooden railings due to his concerns that Public Works staff would have to continually maintain and frequently repaint them.
CRA member support for painting the pier railings white has waned since the CRA canceled a proposed contract with Lowes Commercial Painting in early September. The members canceled the contract after the painting company requested an additional $3,500 in labor fees above and beyond the $10,900 it originally bid to paint the railings and pier gazebos.
During last week’s meeting, Pines Trailer Park resident Susan Billow said she’s in favor of the pier railings being white because it would make the pier stand out to those crossing the Cortez Bridge. She said it would also help distinguish the pier from the neighboring mobile home park. Billow said she really likes Woodard’s suggestion to use white PVC railings.
CRA chair Ralph Cole said the PVC railings could be installed as a test area on the boardwalk first, before committing to replacing all the pier railings.
Woodard said the wood railings could be repurposed and used elsewhere if the CRA decides to replace them.
The members asked Woodard to bring back some preliminary price estimates for the PVC railings. They also asked him to bring back prices for the Trex composite railings he briefly mentioned.
The pier railing discussions remain ongoing and no final decisions have been made.
Members also discussed painting a small, inconspicuous section of the boardwalk railings white as a test area for paint durability and ongoing maintenance needs.
Given the current lack of support for painting the railings, the CRA members debated the need for a paint test. But Mayor and CRA member John Chappie insisted it be done because the members previously approved doing it.
Chappie spearheaded the recent efforts to paint the pier railings white, but during the Oct. 2 meeting he acknowledged he too is having second thoughts. That said, he still feels the unpainted railings have an unattractive color to them because of the previously applied waterproofing sealant.
Woodard said the test area would be painted as previously requested.