MADEIRA BEACH – A number of civic improvement projects will get underway in the city this year. Plus, construction has just begun on a massive development that will change the face of the city.
Rarely, if ever, will so much activity be going on in the city at one time. City Manager Jonathan Evans named the projects at the City Commission meeting Jan. 8 and spoke of the impact construction will have on the city.
They include the resurfacing of Gulf Boulevard, the undergrounding of utilities, storm water projects and improvements to the splash pad at ROC Park.
Construction is also starting on the Madeira Town Center development at the city’s main entry corridor on the Causeway and Madeira Way. The 4 1/2-acre site will have condos and two hotels, plus a public plaza, marina and more. One of the hotels is underway now, next to the Post Office on Madeira Way.
There is also a new hotel that will soon be under construction in John’s Pass Village.
“There are a lot of improvements coming in the community,” Evans said.
He also alerted residents to expect the inconveniences that come with construction activity, especially with so many projects going on in so many parts of the city.
“We apologize for the dust,” Evans said.
But he also said “the projects should move pretty quickly, especially the resurfacing of the (Gulf Boulevard) roadway.”
During public comments, resident John Hendricks warned the city about starting the road work on Gulf Boulevard during the upcoming tourist season, as is planned. Treasure Island tried that two years ago, he said, and traffic was “total gridlock, backed up for a mile in each direction.”
Alcohol license requests spur complaints by residents
Requests for licenses to sell beer and wine, and, in one case, liquor, at diverse establishments brought concerns from some residents.
A license to serve beer and wine at the Madeira Beach Juicerie, a juice bar on Madeira Way prompted Guy Critelli to say, “From juice to beer and wine, I don’t understand it. The juice should draw people in, not beer and wine.”
“At John’s Pass, every T-shirt shop gets a beer permit,” Critelli said. “Madeira Beach is turning into beer city.”
Noise from bars was also a concern of Critelli, who lives near John’s Pass Village.
“There is a drinking party every night at the bars,” said Critelli.
The noise at the Bamboo Garden is sometimes so loud he can’t hear his TV, he said.
Gary Payne said he was opposed to expanding the sale of alcohol on Madeira Way.
“My concern is noise and public drunkenness. There is no way of policing this,” he said.
Bill Gay complained about noise from the Brown Boxer. More establishments serving alcohol “is not something we need here,” he said.
Juicerie owner Lexi Davies said her business “is not a bar; it’s a restaurant.”
The restaurant has fresh fruit, and a number of their customers have asked for Sangrias and Pina Coladas, she said. Davies said the Juicerie closes early, currently about 7 p.m., and does not play loud music.
As to enforcement of noise codes, Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Snyder said “loud and raucous noise” is not allowed after 9 p.m. on weekdays or 11 p.m. on weekends. Residents should call the police non-emergency number at 582-6200 with complaints.
Commissioners unanimously approved the beer and wine license for the Juicerie. They also approved a liquor license for Frabotta’s Beach Kitchen and Saltwater Hippie Beach Bar, formerly two businesses which are being combined into one license. Frabotta’s was formerly a Subway shop, and the bar was the Old Oar House Pub.
Madeira Way market to continue
The popular market on Madeira Way, which had moved to Seminole last year, then brought back on a trial basis, has now returned on Sunday afternoons and will continue.
“We have successfully completed three markets, and want to continue for the next three months,” said Recreation Director Jay Hatch. The Recreation Department helped host the three events that were held in November, December and early January.
Evans said contributions from the developer who is starting construction there and fees from the market participants had kept the event “well within budget.”
Nicolette Schouten, owner of Collette’s dress shop on Madeira Way, said the merchants “all love the market and want to keep it going.”
Commissioners voted to keep the market going until April, with one event a month, January through March. There will then be a break, and restart later, Hatch said. Management of the market would then be taken over by a private event organizer.