Dream Island Road residents are proud of their pirate statue. Some refer to the pirate as “our buccaneer.” A few have even suggested that he makes them feel protected, acting almost like a neighborhood security guard.
Longtime Dream Island resident Michael Hodges said he received many calls last week when his neighbors learned that the Longboat Key Historical Society was discussing the possibility of moving the statue to public land, or, possibly, to a business. The statue welcomed guests to The Buccaneer Inn from 1957 to 2000.
“If it moves, it could fall apart,” said Michael Hodges, who has lived on Dream Island Road since 1973.
Since last week, Hodges has collected a pledge signed by 32 residents to keep the pirate grounded in its current location. The pledge states that the pirate greets residents as they enter the neighborhood and serves as an attraction for people who visit the statue to have their pictures taken next to it.
“It uniquely conveys a sense of ‘welcome home to a very special place called Dream Island,’” the pledge states.
Historical Society President Tom Mayers said he would work with residents to keep the statue in its current location. He said that the Historical Society began the discussion about moving the pirate because members worried that it could be destroyed. The Buccaneer Inn property became the Grand Mariner condominium project, which went into foreclosure in 2008. The pirate stands near Harbour Villa Club condominium, although it is unclear to residents who owns the spot where the pirate stands.
“Our main concern is that it be treated with respect,” Mayers said. “We don’t want it painted pink. We don’t want it pushed over.”
Later this week, the Harbour Villa Club board will discuss assuming control of the statue. If the board agrees, residents will work together to provide the pirate with a “facelift”: a cleaning and paint touch-up at least, although residents are unsure about whether they should replace the pirate’s broken nose.
“We want to make him look really cool from head to toe,” Hodges said.
Contact Robin Hartill at firstname.lastname@example.org
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