Bradenton mayor: Woman must halt hot dog giveaway on Riverwalk

rdymond@bradenton.comMarch 5, 2013 

BRADENTON - The Bradenton woman who has run into opposition in her desire to feed hungry skateboarders at Riverwalk Skatepark will have to wait until vending policies are in place before she can even give away food, Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston said Tuesday.

"She needs to wait, which is what we told other people who want to sell on Riverwalk," Poston said.

"We need to have a process in place for her protection, for the kids' protection and for our protection," Poston said.

Poston was speaking of Michele Tejkl, who, with her husband, Jim, and four sons have been cooking and handing out roughly 300 hot dogs every Sunday to famished skateboarders for the past three months.

Poston said the reason that no policies are in place yet for vending of any kind at park is that officials want it to grow and evolve before putting anything on paper.

"We are still trying to figure out how people will use the park," Poston said. "For example, we notice that some people have walked through shrubs. We will consider putting sidewalks there. Taking time to see what happens is a normal way of evaluating."

Some officials have said that the Bradenton Police Department, which asked the Tejkl family to dismantle their hot dog giveaway, has stopped roughly 40 others who wanted to bring food to the park for people to consume.

Michele Tejkl said other city officials have told her it was OK to give away food.

"I am very frustrated with the city," Tejkl said Tuesday. "I have pictures of members of the Bradenton City Council at our event. I don't understand why they didn't tell us then that something was wrong."

A Bradenton Herald story published Tuesday about the Tejkl's desire to feed teens at the Skatepark has drawn "tons and tons" of email support in favor of their continuing their activity, Michele Tejkl said.

Many people asked why the Tejkls couldn't just get a permit and move on with their donations.

That's the problem. There are no permits yet for vending at the park, Poston said.

"We don't have a timetable," Poston added.

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