BRADENTON BEACH – Some of the mini reefs installed under the Bridge Street Pier in June 2020 were recently repaired without the approval of Bradenton Beach officials, and the vendor is asking for payment.
In 2020, the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) members authorized a $10,000 expenditure to install 14 double-sized artificial mini reefs in partnership with Ocean Habitats and The Center of Anna Maria Island. The manufactured polypropylene mini reefs were installed to provide new habitats for fish and other marine life underneath the T-end of the Bridge Street Pier.
Ocean Habitats founder David Wolff and his sons, David Wolff Jr. and Alex Wolff, installed the mini reefs on June 17, 2020, tethering the small structures to lines that allow them to float in the top 2 feet of water beneath the pier.
The unauthorized repairs were discussed at a Nov. 2 CRA meeting. City Attorney Ricinda Perry said Ocean Habitats recently requested a $700 payment for repairs made without the CRA or city’s knowledge. Perry added that she then corresponded with Ocean Habitats founder David Wolff and The Center’s Jim McDaniel regarding the matter.
During Wednesday’s meeting, she said the one-time mini reef installation in 2020 did not contractually bind the CRA to any future maintenance or repair requirements or costs, thus the CRA is not legally obligated to pay the repair bill.
Perry said it’s up to the CRA members to decide whether CRA funds are used to pay for the repairs. She also said the city’s public works department could remove the mini reefs prior to the pending installation of the finger piers that will extend perpendicular to the floating dock that sits next to the pier.
CRA member John Chappie said he’s in favor of the CRA paying the repair bill, but he believes an Ocean Habitats representative needs to first appear before CRA members provide a detailed report regarding the repairs made. He also said the repair and maintenance process needs to be corrected to prevent similar occurrences from happening again.
The other CRA members agreed with this approach and that the payment will be withheld until the requested report is received.