Plans to reconstruct an abandoned area landmark took a step forward Friday, when Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Director Carolyn Brown announced to Interim County Administrator Thomas Harmer via email that her staff had secured all federal, state and local permits required to rebuild the Osprey fishing pier.
Brown reported that, with permits now in hand, the project engineer had begun working on designs, which should take about one month to complete. After design completion, Sarasota County will either assign the project to a marine contracting unit or open it up to competitive bidding — it all depends on the ultimate cost, Brown said.
Portions of the Osprey fishing pier were closed in June 2012 when county engineers found that the majority of concrete pillars supporting the structure had deteriorated beyond salvage and would have to be replaced.
Community pressure to rebuild the longtime Osprey landmark drove a 2012 move by the Sarasota County Commission to apply for a grant from the West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND) to cover the estimated $200,000 to $300,000 cost of the project.
The WCIND awarded the grant to Sarasota County in October 2012, and the Sarasota County Commission subsequently approved the rebuild as a capital improvement project.
Due to the existing pier’s location along the Blackburn Bay coastline (the pier is located off Main St. in Osprey, just south of Historic Spanish Point), it is subject to a stack of permitting requirements related to public safety and environmental protection rules.
Brown’s announcement on Friday was a major step forward for the project, marking the completion of all regulatory requirements, and swiftly moving the project into the design phase.
According to an August 2012 email to the Sarasota County Commission from Parks and Recreation Project Manager Rob LaDue, the new pier was pitched to the WCIND as a concrete structure with composite decking and railing —making it durable and resistant to decay.
Brown said the project’s anticipated completion date will likely be set for fall or winter 2014 — depending on the weather.
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