MANATEE -- The Green Bridge fishing pier may enjoy a new lease on life after Manatee County commissioners Tuesday informally agreed they would rather repair than demolish it.
County Administrator Ed Hunzeker told the commission he might be able to assemble enough money from various sources to repair the corroding pier, so it might last decades more.
The 2,100-foot pier, which juts into the Manatee River from Palmetto along the north shore, is a popular fishing spot and recreational area.
It is a remnant of the 1927 predecessor to the Green Bridge, which opened in 1986.
"Better to make it a viable asset for the community rather than sitting around talking about knocking it down," said Hunzeker.
"This is a great amenity. This is the downtown core," said Commissioner Michael Gallen, who represents Palmetto on the commission.
Three options were on the table: minimum maintenance costing about $200,000 every five years, designed to slow structural decay; large-scale repair costing $1.1 million; or do nothing until it has to be demolished.
After a presentation by the county public works department, Commission Chairman Larry Bustle said: "I think we can say we're in agreement; it's an asset to the community and the city of Palmetto, and to the overall community."
"I'm very relieved that everybody is on the same page," said Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant.
The pier in its current condition would probably last 20 years, and might last another 20 years with a large-scale repair, said Ron Schulhofer, county public works director.
A vibrant, pedestrian friendly spot such as the pier would fit nicely with Palmetto's downtown redevelopment plans, said Jeff Burton, director of the Palmetto Community Redevelopment Agency.
The pier offers one of the most beautiful views on the river, and would be a delightful place for a restaurant, for instance, he said.
The commission made no formal decision on the matter, since it was meeting in a work session. A formal vote on a repair plan is expected to come later at a regular commission meeting.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.