Bradenton Beach officials are working to recover fully three days after Tropical Storm Colin damaged the Historic Bridge Street Pier. The pier reopened Tuesday but a parallel floating day dock remains closed.
Tom Woodard, public works/facilities management director for Bradenton Beach, sent Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon and city commissioners an email Tuesday afternoon with 15 photos showing damage to the pier and day dock.
One boat got past us and did a little bit of damage, but that’s not too bad considering what could have happened.
Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale
“At the pier itself, there were a couple boats that ran into the pier and it’s very minor damage,” Shearon said Wednesday afternoon. “We get to the day dock, that’s a bigger problem. There’s two boats that hit the day dock and are sunk. The day dock is still closed until we can get those vessels removed. They’re in the water and we can’t open the day dock back up until those boats are removed.”
One of the boats was pulled from the water Wednesday evening, Shearon later told a Herald reporter.
The Bridge Street Pier reopened in 2015 after undergoing reconstruction. Most of it was closed in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy smashed boats docked nearby into the pier.
The day dock was the center of tensions several months ago in Bradenton Beach.
“We are waiting for estimates from the contractor (Sarasota-based Duncan Seawall, Dock and Boat Lift LLC) that rebuilt the pier,” said Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale. “They’re going to give us an estimate of not only the condition of the day dock, but what it would cost to fix it.”
Speciale said contact was made with the owner of the two boats.
“Lt. John Cosby is in the process right now of getting all the information of not only the sunken boats, but the damaged boats and if they (the owners) are unable to come up with the money to have the boats removed, we’re going to use funds from our (West Coast Inland Navigation District) grant to have those vessels removed.”
The pier fared well through Tropical Storm Colin, the police chief said, despite three boats hitting the area around the T-end.
It’s twofold — number one is a lot of those are people that are living in there (the water) which, of course, now makes them homeless. That’s a concern, that somebody has lost their home. Number two is the cost and the burden is now on Bradenton Beach to pay for the removal of a vessel that we don’t even own.
Bradenton Beach Mayor William Shearon on damages caused by Tropical Storm Colin
“One boat got past us and did a little bit of damage, but that’s not too bad,” Speciale said, “considering what could have happened.”
Shearon expressed concern over the repairs ahead.
“It’s twofold — number one is a lot of those are people that are living in there (the water) which, of course, now makes them homeless. That’s a concern, that somebody has lost their home,” he said. “Number two is the cost and the burden is now on Bradenton Beach to pay for the removal of a vessel that we don’t even own. ... there could be an environmental concern because maybe these boats (that sunk) have engines and fuel and stuff on board.”