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Longboat Key Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 1 year ago

Historic cottage moving to Town Center site

The Longboat Key Historical Society is set to move the cottage from 521 Broadway St.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

Longboat Key’s Town Center site is getting a building after all.

Town commissioners still must decide what specifically a Town Center entails between the Public Tennis Center and the Shoppes of Bay Isles.

However, commissioners did decide to start with a 400-square-foot cottage from the Longboat Key Historical Society on the northeast part of the Town Center site.

Michael Drake attended Monday afternoon’s special town commission meeting to decide where specifically commissioners would decide to put the Longboat Key Historical Society’s historic cottage at the Town Center site.

“It’s been the longest 2.5 years of my life,” Historical Society President Michael Drake said. “However, knowing what I’ve been through for the last 2.5 years, I would do it all again for the Historical Society of Longboat Key."

Drake said he and the Historical Society’s board preferred the northeast location compared to the southeast location at the Town Center site.

“We don’t really care where we go because we’re just very happy and grateful that we’re part of the new Town Center,” Drake said. “So, we’ll put it wherever the commission wants to go and that’s what our board has come up with is site No. 2.”

Commissioners were unanimous in their decision to move the cottage to the northeast location.

“It’s probably a more appropriate and attractive setting for the building,” Mayor Ken Schneier said.

Drake is looking to move two historic cottages from where they sit now at 521 Broadway St. before December. The landowner is looking to sell the property.

The smaller cottage was built around 1937 and was one of the original structures of Whitney’s Beach Resort.

It will cost the Historical Society between $15,000 and $20,000 to move the smaller of the cottages to the Town Center site, according to Drake.

“It’s been wonderful working with the town,” Drake said. “They’ve been more than cooperative.”

The Historical Society will be responsible for paying a $10 annual lease to the town, paying taxes at the new site, maintaining the cottage and setting up FPL for utilities. The cottages do not have plumbing. Since the cottages are deemed historic buildings, they do not need to abide by FEMA height requirements.

The Historical Society has paid $2,500 in monthly rent since August 2018 for the cottages to sit where they do now, according to Drake. The cost of moving the cottage hasn't been determined yet, or the procedure for moving the structure about 6.3 miles from Longbeach Village to its destination. 

Drake said the Historical Society is still accepting bids until Wednesday for the larger, L-shaped cottage. As of Monday afternoon, Drake said the Historical Society there are three active bids on the larger cottage.

“When people were outbid, I would then send emails back to the people that were bidding saying, ‘that you've been outbid,’ just to keep the bid process going,” Drake said.

The town is not expected to bid on the larger cottage. Drake said it would likely remain in Manatee County.


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Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

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