Repairs slated for Palma Sola, Kingfish boat ramps

Herald staff reportersAugust 21, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Bradenton City Councilman Gene Gallo received an e-mail recently concerning the Palma Sola boat ramp, which may soon result in major repairs to the popular facility.

"The gentleman said his boat is 2 feet lower than the dock at low tide," Gallo said Tuesday. "I thought to myself, 'If you had to jump into that boat, you could break your neck.'"

Gallo contacted Manatee County about the issue, which prompted a reaction.

Charlie Hunsicker, county director of natural resources, told the Manatee County commissioners at a workshop Tuesday repairs costing less than $20,000 would be made by the city as soon as possible.

"Our staffs are working together on this problem," said Hunsicker.

The dock was constructed too high off the water, he said. It will be lowered to make it more user-friendly.

"In the meantime, we'll study how we can return to that location and build a ramp that meets all the boaters' needs," Hunsicker said.

Gallo was not at the workshop but he was pleased to hear of the progress made.

"We have a meeting scheduled Thursday," Gallo said, referring to the city of Bradenton and Manatee

County. "I know that we will lower it. I am hoping it will not be anywhere near $20,000 and it could be $5,000. It's crazy to spend $20,000 for a temporary fix. What I am really hoping is that we can come up with a way to fix it effectively in a lot less than three years."

Gallo said Palma Sola's boat ramp could be on a par with the 59th Street boat ramp, which he uses."The 59th Street has a floating dock, it is safe and I hope we can do something equal," Gallo said. "Palma Sola is popular. Tons of people use it. We should make sure it is safer."

The city of Bradenton annexes rights-of-way along Manatee Avenue West from the Florida Department of Transportation, which owns the bulk of the property that makes up the Palma Sola Causeway, Gallo said.

The Kingfish boat ramp farther west along State Road 64, along with both the North Coquina and South Coquina boat ramps, also need repairs, Hunsicker said.

"It's our highest-use ramp," he said of Kingfish, which needs extensive seawall repair.

Over the next couple of years, county officials will increase parking at the South Coquina boat ramp to accommodate the overflow from boaters during the Kingfish boat ramp repair, said Hunsicker.

The county also will re-do the under-used North Coquina boat ramp before beginning a complete reconstruction of the Palma Sola ramp, he said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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