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Irma took away the Anna Maria pier. The city offers to return memorial planks to their owners

Damage to the Anna Maria City pier is seen while fishermen angle in the surrounded waters as resident of Anna Maria Island recover from Hurricane Irma on Tuesday afternoon on Anna Maria Island.
Damage to the Anna Maria City pier is seen while fishermen angle in the surrounded waters as resident of Anna Maria Island recover from Hurricane Irma on Tuesday afternoon on Anna Maria Island. Herald file photo

The planks that held 1,000 memories on the Anna Maria City Pier destroyed by Hurricane Irma now have the opportunity to go home with their respective owners or be part of a city memorial.

During a special meeting last week, Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy presented five options for what could be done with the planks, including positives, negatives and associated costs. Commissioners ended up choosing the fifth option, which involves constructing a memorial wall in the City Pier Park and the Historical Museum Park.

But those who do not want their planks to be used in the memorial can submit a request to PierMemorialPlanks@cityofannamaria.com until close of business Jan. 26. Interested parties should include their name, contact information and description of the plank’s inscription. A date for owners to pick up their planks has yet to be set, according to the clerk’s office.

For the pier’s centennial in 2011, The Islander newspaper and the City Pier Restaurant sponsored 1,000 planks for anyone to purchase and have a special message carved into them. Murphy previously told the Bradenton Herald that the planks were in bad shape due to ongoing water damage.

In September, Hurricane Irma blasted the pier and its adjoining restaurant, calling for a need to rebuild the structure. It was due for an upgrade in about five years, but the storm sped up the schedule. The county approved a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $1.5 million in tourist taxes to go toward the reconstruction last month. The pier isn’t expected to reopen until 2019.

Hannah Morse: 941-745-7055, @mannahhorse

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