The passing of former councilman/commissioner of Bradenton Beach (circa 1989-1992), the Honorable Jim Kissick, will not be forgotten.
Born in Manatee County and retiring from the U.S. military as a Navy fighter pilot with many levels of certifications in many types of flying machines, fixed-wing single-engine and multiple engine planes, both propeller and jet engine, and even helicopters, gave him the distinct recognition as one of the very few with such prestigious education, training and abilities.
That background in civil and aeronautical engineering explains his understanding and reasoning for working tireless hours, days, months, and years to come up with an idea for an 85-foot fixed span bridge to the Longboat Pass area. He never believed the Cortez Bridge should be replaced by a fixed-span bridge.
His unique ability to take his plane and fly over the bay and around Tidy Island and Longboat Key area helped him realize the best solution. He wrote countless letters to the editor to explain the idea of a 53rd Avenue extension and causeways to build a fixed-span bridge to Coquina and Longboat Key.
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This idea would relieve Cortez Road, Cortez Bridge and Bradenton Beach of a lot of traffic. It is a great solution.
The Florida Department of Transportation has spent millions of dollars on multiple studies of the Cortez Bridge solution and has yet come up with any solution to relieve the traffic and congestion for the city of Bradenton Beach. The Bradenton Beach City Commission at one point even named the improbable new bridge the Jim Kissick Bridge.
I had the priviledge to meet and serve with this man, and I believe this would be a great solution as well as a tremendous memorial to a great man. RIP, my friend, and Godspeed!
Katie Pierola, former mayor, City of Bradenton Beach