Bradenton requests partial closure of Green Bridge for F2 powerboat regatta

myoung@bradenton.comJune 19, 2014 

BRADENTON -- The city of Bradenton took the final step during a special meeting Wednesday to clear the way for the Formula 2 powerboat regatta in February.

The city council last week approved the regatta contract but as part of the overall festivities related to the event, a request was made to close the northbound lanes of the Green Bridge for race spectators, as well as a 5K run to raise money for Save the Manatees.

In order to free city staff and allow the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority to pursue the permit, the Florida Department of Transportation requires a resolution from the city as part of the permit process. The council unanimously approved that resolution.

The event, which is still dependent on all necessary permit approvals, is scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 7, with activities taking place on both sides of the Manatee River. Scheduled events include a rock concert at Riverwalk, a Christian concert in Palmetto, a BMX show, dog show, waterski show, jet ski show and more, as well as the primary event of Powerboat Super League racing.

In other special event matters, the city discussed the Fourth of July festivities along the river. City Clerk Carl Callahan said the use of the day dock and pier as a spectator platform during the fireworks display is becoming a safety concern for the city. He suggested leaving both open during the day but to close them prior to the fireworks.

Vice Mayor Bemis Smith opposed an outright closure, saying, "It seems silly we build the day dock to bring people down for big events and then ban them from a big event."

Callahan said the concern is 200 people standing on the day dock, which does not have rails.

"We are not sure of the weight loads on these facilities," he said.

The council took no action but agreed to leave the day dock open, but only for boaters to tie onto and to have law enforcement patrol both facilities during the fireworks to ensure they are not being overused to the point of creating a safety hazard.

Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.

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