The venerable old structure had been under reconstruction since Hurricane Irma damaged it in 2017
Friday will be a red letter day for pier anglers in this area with the reopening of the iconic Anna Maria City Pier. The venerable old structure, originally built in 1911 at the east end of Pine Avenue, had withstood the onslaught of many tropical tempests over the decades. The pier finally lost out to the wind and waves of Hurricane Irma, resulting in its total rebuilding from the pilings up.
Not only has the City Pier been a favorite of countless kids and families for idyllic days spent fishing and just soaking up the broad vistas of lower Tampa Bay, the pier was the landing for a ferry boat bringing bathers over from Tampa back in the day. The day trippers would cross the narrow key to a bath house where the present day Sand Bar Restaurant is located.
Due to another perfect storm of construction delays, a pandemic and lease wranglings, the reopening will be of a “soft nature.” There will be no restaurant, bait shop or concession available. The initial open hours to anglers will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays through Sundays. Benches have been installed around the pier and social distancing is required but masks are optional. Alcohol is prohibited but coolers permitted. Manatee Sheriffs Deputies will be on-site for assistance during open hours. The city pier has reinstated its blanket fishing license so anglers are not required to possess one.
On Friday, the mayor and city commissioners will be on hand to meet and greet with anglers and sightseers.
Mayor Dan Murphy of Anna Maria hopes to expand the open days and hours within a month or two and the city is working hard to resolve the issues holding up the opening of the food, beverage and bait amenities. The goal is to have the restaurant and other concessions open by the end of 2020 or early 2021.