ANNA MARIA – Mayor Dan Murphy and the Anna Maria Commission are planning the opening ceremonies for the new City Pier, but the exact date of the opening remains unknown due to an electrical issue.
The mayor and commission discussed these matters on Thursday, Feb. 13. Murphy said he would appreciate the commissioners’ ideas and input on the pier opening ceremonies, but first he wanted to address a recent report by another newspaper that incorrectly stated an opening date had been determined.
“There was an article in one of the papers that said it was going to be opened March 10th at 1 p.m. In all probability the pier will not be opening March 10,” Murphy said.
March 10 is the deadline for potential pier tenants to submit their pier lease proposals in response to the city’s request for proposals. The proposals received are scheduled to be opened in the commission chambers at 1 p.m. that day.
“We do have an electrical issue with the pier – partially from Florida Power & Light and partially of our own making. But the Florida Power & Light one is the critical one. That has to be resolved before we can do anything in terms of opening the pier,” Murphy told the commission.
“At this point, it looks like Florida Power & Light will not have their portion of this thing resolved until early March at best. Part of it is impacted by supplies and things of that nature and having to do with design. We can establish a firm date when Florida Power & Light is good to go. Other than that, it’s premature to speculate what the date would be,” Murphy said of the pier opening.
When contacted later, Murphy said the bulk of the electrical concerns pertain to the FPL transformers being readied for connectivity with the city pier.
Pier opening ceremonies
“In lieu of all that, I still need to put together a program as to what we’d like to do,” Murphy told the commission.
Murphy said former Commissioner Doug Copeland suggested a Saturday morning youth fishing tournament as part of the pier opening ceremonies. Murphy said that was an excellent idea and he’s already asked CrossPointe Fellowship Pastor Ed Moss to head up the tournament.
Murphy also wants the opening ceremonies to serve as a thank you to the other government officials and government bodies that helped fund the pier replacement project. These include Florida Sen. Bill Galvano, State Rep. Will Robinson, Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Elliott Falcione, the Manatee County Tourist Development Council, the Manatee County Commission and Anna Maria resident Sissy Quinn for her grassroots fundraising efforts.
“A light program with maybe a champagne toast or something like that. I think it’s appropriate that we say ‘thank you,’ ” Murphy said, noting that hors d’oeuvres would also be served.
Commissioner Carol Carter suggested the ceremony take place on a Friday.
Murphy encouraged the commissioners in their roles as commission liaisons to invite The Center of Anna Maria Island, the Island Players, the AMI Historical Society and the Anna Maria Garden Club to participate in the ceremonies.
“This pier is so important to our city. It’s the heart of our city. That’s why I’d like the entities that are the fiber of our city to participate,” Murphy said.
Carter said a pier exhibit at the AMI Historical Museum could be reinstalled after a current exhibit is removed. She also said the museum sells pier T-shirts and more could be ordered for the opening ceremonies.
Commissioner Joe Muscatello said the Island Players have already offered to perform a historical period piece that pays homage to the original pier built in 1911 and those who first used it.
Commissioner Amy Tripp asked Murphy if he envisioned a two- or three-day ceremony. Murphy said that’s up to the commission. He asked the commissioners to provide him their individual ideas by Wednesday, Feb. 19.
“Just give me some ideas and I think we can put it all together,” he said.
The pier walkway and T-end deck are expected to open to the public before the pier tenant – who has not yet been selected – completes the interior build-outs of the city-owned restaurant and bait shop buildings.