County to discuss Green Bridge fishing pier future

skennedy@bradenton.comSeptember 17, 2013 

MANATEE -- The future of the Green Bridge Fishing Pier will be the topic during a 9 a.m. Tuesday workshop of the Manatee County Commission on the fourth floor of the County Administrative Center, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

The 2,100-foot recreational pier reaches into the Manatee River from the north shore in Palmetto.

Eugene Johnson, 31, a landscaper from Bradenton, was fishing from the pier Monday.

"I like it, it's peaceful," he said. "It will be kind of messed up if they tear it down."

The pier is a remnant of an old bridge dating to 1927, but has not carried motorized traffic since the new Green Bridge replaced it in 1986, according to the meeting agenda.

State inspectors in 2011 found the corroding pier in immediate need of repair, which could cost as much as $1.1 million.

Workshop speakers will include: Ron Schulhofer, county public works director; Jeff Burton, Palmetto Community Redevelopment Agency director; and Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant.

Options to be discussed, include:

• Minimum maintenance costing about $200,000 every five years, designed to slow structural decay;

• large-scale repair costing $1.1 million, plus another $50,000 worth of cleaning and repair every five years; and

• a "do-nothing" option where the pier would be closed when it becomes structurally deficient.

"While this ends with an undesirable outcome of no fishing pier, it is the most economical," the agenda document advises about the "do nothing" option.

After the new Green Bridgeopened, the state gave the county $110,000 to demolish the structure at the end of its useful life, which now totals nearly $330,000 with interest.

"This funding will likely not cover the actual cost of removing the structure from the river, as costs will continue to escalate as years pass," state documents noted.

"Current FDOT estimating figures place the cost between$1.35 million and $3.78 million."

Commission Chairman Larry Bustle, a former Palmetto mayor, said Monday he hoped the workshop discussion could pinpoint a solution that satisfies all parties.

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

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