Mote Marine, Instead of a Restaurant Coming to The Anna Maria City Pier?
No more lunch or burgers and salad on the end of The Anna Maria City Pier? Quite Possibly.
The Pier was rebuilt at a cost of $6.8 million and just reopened in June of last year, three years after being destroyed by Hurricane Irma.
Since the Pier reopened, the question everyone keeps asking... What restaurant would go into the building at the end of the pier?
Well, there have been several unsuccessful negotiations with a few different restaurant owners.
This is where Mote Marine comes into the picture....
Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota and city of Anna Maria officials are now in talks about converting the unfinished building into a marine educational outreach center, that would be open to the public.
Anna Maria city commissioners are very interested in the idea, voting 4-1 to pursue the idea.
The new proposal suggests that the 1,800-square-foot facility at the end of The Anna Maria City Pier would become the learning center, which would attract tourists, educate and entertain locals, and enhance the overall Anna Maria Island experience.
The proposed layout shows aquarium habitats for juvenile sportfish, grassflats, schooling fish and stone crabs, as well as a touch exhibit. Also proposed is an information desk, and retail space.
Potential education programs include story times, guided tours and science talks. Outdoor programming for children could include fishing workshops, field explorations and more.
Among the educational goals of the proposed learning center: increase awareness of conservation angling practices, and increase awareness of Mote Marine Laboratory research and conservation efforts.
In terms of money. The annual cost to operate the proposed new center, would be projected at $444,134, with $337,967 coming in-kind from Mote Marine. The rest of the budget would come from retail sales, education programs, and donations to Mote Marine.
The city of Anna Maria would handle the cost of the utilities, which are estimated at $9,500 a year.