Upgrades to the Merry Pier in Pass-A-Grille are expected to get started later this year.
ST. PETE BEACH – Construction on upgrades to the Merry Pier, 801 Pass-A-Grille Way in St. Pete Beach, should be getting underway in three to four months.
City commissioners made that possible July 22 by waiving about $350 in permit fees and extending the current lease agreement five years to Merry Pier Partners LLC, operator of the business.
The current lease terminates Jan. 31, 2016. With the extension, Merry Pier Partners will retain their current rental agreement through January 2021.
“We are requesting the extension be granted at this time as we are planning to expend monies to make improvements to the existing signage and the side deck, which is very much in need of repair,” said Nancy Davidek, managing member of Merry Pier Partners, in a letter to city commissioners. “We request that the permitting process be waived since we are improving city property.”
Merry Pier Partners pays the city $37,475 a year in rent. Each year the amount increases 2.5 percent.
City Commissioner Terri Finnerty said she had no issues with waiving the permit fees but expressed concern about extending the lease past 2016 without a bid process.
Commissioner Melinda Pletcher, who represents Pass-A-Grille, said with impending road construction coming along Pass-A-Grille Way, the pier operators would need every break the city could give them.
Davidek said the upgrades would begin in October or November and no later than the end of the year.
In other action:
• Approved a special event application and street closure for the for the sixth annual VW Beach Bash Saturday, Aug. 30 in Pass-A-Grille. Organizers of the event will be closing 15th and 16th avenues from Friday night, Aug. 29 through Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. The event will take place in a park between the two streets. It is expected to draw 100 Volkswagen show cars, 10 to 15 art and crafts vendors, and three to four food trucks. A request for the city to provide $3,415 in co-sponsorship was turned down.
• Tabled a request to approve the second annual Hot Summer Night Run Thursday, Oct. 2 until a more workable race route and road closure can be worked out.