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Sealing up 'Pink Palace' to cost $12,700


BRADENTON - Boarding up the "Pink Palace" in downtown Bradenton is going to cost $12,700, compliance manager Volker Reiss told the City Council on Wednesday.

He went out and got bids, Reiss said, to seal off the first floor windows and the broken windows on the higher floors, and that was the best bid. The city will eventually get its money back when the building, which is in foreclosure, is sold, so the council voted 4-0 to approve the money.

City Councilman Gene Gallo was absent due to illness.

What was expected to be a big meeting that drew a crowd, including a court reporter, turned quieter when two items on the agenda were continued.

The public hearing on the Bradenton Tabernacle, continued from May 13, received a 60-day extension to Nov. 18. That helped clear out the room.

And the public hearing on the Smoothie King drive-through, continued from July 15, was continued to Sept. 23. That cleared out the room even more.

The grocery chain Aldi received approval for a planned grocery store at 4705 Cortez Road in a 4-0 vote, but only after several stipulations and a long debate between Aldi representative Wylie Klyce.

A cluster of four oak trees on the northeast corner of the property and five pine trees off the property block the sightline to the store, Klyce said, and since the chain - to cut costs - does very little advertising it relies on word of mouth and people seeing its stores to come in and shop there.

He said his proposal was to remove the trees and replace them with a ratio of four to one, and that would be in the spirit of being a "Tree City."

"This building is a huge concern for any retailer," he said. The store has a two-sided entry feature like a Walgreens or CVS, and that entrance holds its signage. Driving west on Cortez Road, drivers might miss the sign because of the trees and will go shopping elsewhere.

It would be getting off on the wrong foot, Klyce said, if after the company spent millions of dollars, hired workers and paid city taxes, if the sight of the store was blocked by the trees.

There has been opposition to Aldi's wish to eliminate the trees.

Councilman Patrick Roff said that he likes to park under trees when he goes shopping, and that he didn't believe the blocked sightline would affect the company's ability to make money.

"I really don't believe these trees are going to be an obstacle for you," he said.

Another issue raised was the cross-access easement between Aldi and another shopping center.

City Councilman Bemis Smith said he didn't like to get between tenants and landowners on issues that need to be decided by lawyers. But based on what he heard, he asked Klyce if he would accept an agreement whereby their approval was based on his company reaching an agreement for the easement. Klyce said he would.

"There are a lot of people who would like to be able to go to stores without getting on one of our major thoroughfares," said Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey. With a very large population behind the center, the lack of an access easement would mean people would have to drive onto Cortez Road.

"I think you would be cutting off your nose to spite your face not to keep that easement," Barnebey told Klyce.

In other action, the City Council approved 4-0 on the consent agenda:

  • Minutes of August 12, 2009.

  • Resolution 09-51 - SHIP reconstruction contract, 917 21st Street E.

  • Resolution 09-61 - SHIP 2009 Annual Report.

  • Resolution 09-62 - High-Speed Passenger Rail Project Proposal.

  • Resolution 09-63 - FRDAP Grant Application 17th Avenue Park with memorandum.

  • Resolution 09-64 - FRDAP Grant Application Glazier Gates Park with memorandum.

  • 2009 JAG Awards - Recovery Act and Annual Allocation.

  • HINI Medical Process.

  • Public Event - Tribute to Heroes, Friday, Sept. 11, 2009.

  • Public Event - Taste of Manatee, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7-8, 2009.

  • Public Event - Downtown Bradenton Craft Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13 and 14, 2010.

  • Public Event - Addendum to previously approved Mainly Art, Saturday, October 17, 2009.

  • Request Street Parking Reservation Permit.

  • Budget Adjustments.

  • Resolution 09-65 - Eastside Wastewater Transmission System Improvements.

The council also approved 4-0:

The second of three readings for proposed ordinance No. 2907.

The second reading of proposed ordinance No. 2908, dealing with false alarms that the Police Department has to respond to.

The second reading of proposed ordinance No. 2909, repealing the establishment of the Tidewater Preserve Community Development District.

A request by Sherod Haliburton, agent for Central Community Redevelopment Agency, owner, for Special Use approval of a day care center located at 530 Martin Luther King Ave. E., with stipulations as to the number of children who could attend and landscaping.

Also Wednesday, Public Works director Claude Tankersley said he observed MCAT's use of 13th Street West over the past weekend when 12th Street was blocked for repairs to the county courthouse. He said the parked buses didn't block traffic that much.

"I observed the process and found it to be orderly," he said. "At one point I saw four buses lined up at the site and there was still plenty of room for traffic. My gut feeling is, based on my observations, that we may have the opportunity to have two-lane traffic and still accommodate the facility."

There are two lanes of traffic and two parking lanes, Tankersley said. "I was encouraged when I saw this," he said. "Our endorsement of that site was a perfect endorsement."

Mayor Wayne Poston noted that the approval of the site is pending a design to make sure it works for everyone. "We insisted that there be at least one lane open for traffic there," Poston said. "If we can get two, that would be fantastic."


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