City commissioners were given a timetable for the reconstruction of the pier, which was decimated by Hurricane Irma last fall
ANNA MARIA ISLAND — The reconstruction process of the historic Anna Maria Island City Pier took another step forward on Tuesday.
City commissioners narrowly approved a tropical hardwood material called Kebony to be used on the pier, and they were also given a timetable for the reconstruction of the pier, which was decimated by Hurricane Irma last fall.
Jay Saxena, vice president of Ayers Associates in Tampa, told the commissioners he expects the reconstruction of the pier to be completed by December 2019. Other key timetables in the process were revealed as well.
Plank removal is expected to commence on May 15, 2018, and should take two weeks; demolition is expected to begin on June 18, 2018, and end in the middle of September; building the platform is expected to start in late August 2018 and conclude July 15, 2019, and work on the bait shop and restaurant is scheduled to begin in April, 2019.
Commissioner Brian Seymour asked Saxena: “Are you 100 percent confident if we deconstruct it we can reconstruct it?’’
The question drew some laughs, and Saxena assured him that the pier, which was originally built in 1911, can be completely reconstructed.
Anna Maria Island mayor Dan Murphy said that the cost to replace the pier will be .2 million, and another .3 million will be needed to build a new restaurant and bait shop. Both were staples in the community before the hurricane.
The Manatee County commission has approved .5 million in county resort tax funds to go to the pier project, and the city will be able to utilize 0,000 in surplus beach concession revenues and 0,000 from the state as well. Murphy said .7 million is pending from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Island resident Sissy Quinn of the Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust has started a GoFundMe campaign and said on Tuesday that the campaign has raised ,000 so far.
The commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of using Kebony on the pier, which is described as a highly-durable type of wood that requires low maintenance. The commissioners voted on five types of wood, with Kebony being the most expensive at .50 per square feet. The pier is roughly 5,000 square feet, meaning the price will be ,500.
The commissioners also voted unanimously against installing a railing at the pier. Quinn, the only resident at the meeting, spoke up against the railing before the vote.
“A lot of people will say if the railing were there it doesn’t look like the old pier,’’ she said. “To make it look like it did before, to me, is important.’’
Murphy said to the best of his knowledge only two people have fallen off the pier, “and both were intoxicated.’’