HomeCommunity NewsAnna MariaMote Marine outreach center...

Mote Marine outreach center to open in May

ANNA MARIA – The grand opening celebration for Mote Marine Laboratory’s education outreach center on the City Pier is scheduled for Friday, May 5 at 10 a.m.

Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy made the announcement during the March 23 city commission meeting, noting that a special event permit for the grand opening celebration was included in that day’s consent agenda.

The celebration will take place at City Pier Park, across the street from the City Pier, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony planned at the pier. Murphy said a jazz combo will provide the music but, other than bottled water, no food, refreshments or champagne will be served. Manatee County commissioners and other local officials will be invited to the ceremony, which is also open to the public.

After the grand opening, the marine education outreach center will be open to residents and visitors on a daily basis free of charge. The hours of operation have not yet been announced.

Moving forward

When contacted Friday afternoon, Murphy said Mote met its recently extended deadline to submit by Friday an application for a permanent city-issued certificate of occupancy. Building Official David Gilson was expected to review the application and issue Mote its certificate of occupancy on Monday, or soon thereafter.

The certificate of occupancy allows Mote Marine to transport the marine exhibits built offsite and install them in the city-owned pier building. When appearing before the city commission on March 9, Mote Marine representative Kevin Cooper said the marine life will require a little time to acclimate to its new environment before the facility can be opened to the public.

Mote Marine outreach center to open in May
A visit to the pier worksite on March 9 revealed much remaining work to be done. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

The Manatee County Commission is providing up to $500,000 in tourist development tax revenues for the interior buildout of the city-owned pier building and the installation of the marine exhibits. The city is managing the disbursement of the county funds as invoices are received and reviewed. Any upfront costs that exceed the $500,000 provided by the county will be paid by Mote.

In September 2021, the city and Mote Marine entered into a lease agreement that provides Mote with five years of rent-free use of the pier building, with an additional five-year extension possible if so desired. In April 2022, the city commission approved a one-year extension because of the delays Mote experienced in getting the facility designed and the pier building transformed into an educational outreach center.

According to the lease, Mote’s buildout responsibilities included but were not limited to design, permitting and interior construction that included plumbing, flooring, ceilings, air conditioning, electrical components and more. The county funds also cover the costs to design, build and install the live and virtual exhibits.

Mote Marine outreach center to open in May
Mote Marine’s education outreach center will include live and virtual exhibits. – Mote Marine | Submitted

Once the outreach center opens, Mote will pay for the ongoing staffing and operational costs and volunteers will provide facility manager Jessica Rhodes with additional free labor.

Most Popular

More from Author

Fritz Dahlquist lived a wonderful life

HOLMES BEACH – Longtime Holmes Beach resident and Nautilus condominium complex...

Latest Pine Avenue bid rejected

ANNA MARIA – Following Mayor Dan Murphy’s recom­mendation, the city commission...

Candidate qualifying commences soon

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The candi­date qualifying periods will soon begin...

Farrington secures petition signatures

MANATEE COUNTY – Mana­tee County Supervisor of Elec­tions candidate Scott Farrington...

Fritz Dahlquist lived a wonderful life

HOLMES BEACH – Longtime Holmes Beach resident and Nautilus condominium complex manager Fritz Dahlquist passed away after a brief and sudden illness on May 8. He was 70. He’s survived by his wife of nearly 45 years, Dena, and their two adult daughters, Abby Dahlquist and Lenna Dahlquist....

Signed palm tree agreement remains elusive

BRADENTON BEACH – A newly-planted coconut palm tree that fell over on Bridge Street last week has raised questions about whether the city obtained a signed indemnification agreement prior to planting it and 79 other trees. At the April 3 Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting, members unanimously approved...

First win for Shady Lady

ANNA MARIA – After two halves of youth soccer action, team AMI Coconuts could not put a point on the scoreboard against The Intuitive Foundation squad in the 8- to 10-year-old recreational soccer league at The Center of Anna Maria Island. The Coconuts team put up a strong...

Buyers losing hope

Tired of waiting for mortgage rates to come down? You’re not alone. Every potential buyer out there is waiting for the same thing, the problem is the Federal Reserve isn’t moving the needle, so it might be a long wait. The Federal Reserve made no move in their...

Try a beach fishing adventure

Are you an accidental angler? Someone who might not be passionate about fishing but who has always wondered what all the hype is about? Maybe you’re an avid freshwater angler from the north unfamiliar with the salt. Whatever your situation, if you want to get a taste...

Latest Pine Avenue bid rejected

ANNA MARIA – Following Mayor Dan Murphy’s recom­mendation, the city commission rejected the latest Reimagining Pine Avenue bid received from C-Squared. On May 9, the commission voted 5-0 in favor of rejecting C-Squared’s approximately $1.4 million bid to construct a one-block Reimagining Pine Avenue prototype area that was...

Candidate qualifying commences soon

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The candi­date qualifying periods will soon begin for those seeking election or reelection during the 2024 election cycle. Anna Maria provides a two-week qualifying period. Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Manatee County provide one-week qualifying periods. All city commission and may­oral terms on the...

Farrington secures petition signatures

MANATEE COUNTY – Mana­tee County Supervisor of Elec­tions candidate Scott Farrington has secured enough petition signatures to avoid paying a $10,133 qualifying fee. The one-week qualifying period for county candidates begins on Monday, June 10 at noon and ends on Friday, June 14 at noon. Farrington will face...

Captain: Derelict boats looming issue

CORTEZ - Tour boat Capt. Kathe Fannon is questioning why authorities are focusing on the removal of Raymond “Junior” Guthrie’s net camp from the waters off Cortez while ignoring more than 20 derelict boats in the same waters. “The net camp is who we are, it’s our heritage,”...

Season’s first shorebird nest discovered

BRADENTON BEACH – The first shorebird nests this year on Anna Maria Island have been spotted and marked by Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteers. A colony of least terns began nesting the week of May 6 at an undisclosed location in Bradenton Beach. A...

Mayors discuss law enforcement consolidation

ANNA MARIA – Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy and Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth are not on the same page when it comes to the potential consolidation of law enforcement services, with each mayor preferring their city’s law enforcement agency take over policing in both cities. As is...

March tourism numbers soar

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – March tourism numbers are up from last year in all three Island cities, significantly so in the City of Anna Maria. Each month, the Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office reports how much income the county’s 5% tourist tax produces. The tax is collected from...