In October Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. – Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217 wrote, The Sarasota Bradenton Ferry water taxi service will be launching in early 2018. It has now been announced the project has been delayed. We anticipate the launch will take place mid 2018 and promise to keep you updated.

The service will connect downtown Sarasota and downtown Bradenton to Bradenton Beach. The drive between Sarasota and Bradenton Beach (Anna Maria Island) can take approximately 40 minutes without traffic, but the commute by water is expected to take just 28 minutes. With the approval by all three cities in 2017, Captain Sherman Baldwin, owner of Paradise Boat Tours in Bradenton is ready to provide this innovative service. Unfortunately, a Bradenton Beach floating dock is delaying this long-awaited water taxi service.

Sarasota Bradenton Ferry is all ready to launch its 149-passenger high speed catamaran. The docks from the 10th Street Pier at Centennial Park in downtown Sarasota and the Bradenton Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton have been secured. The installation of the Bradenton Beach floating dock to unload and load passengers at the Historic Bridge Street Pier is the only thing holding the project back. Lenders will not release the ferry until all three docks are cleared for use. So until Bradenton Beach gets its dock in place this service is docked so to speak.

The Bradenton Beach dock contractor, Technomarine were to begin work in September 2017, butte active  hurricane season put them behind. We were in Bradenton Beach when Hurricane Irma swept through the area which gives us a better understanding of the delay. Installation of the dock is now scheduled for February 2018.

This long term project becoming a longer term project has work commuters, locals and tourists waiting a little longer. One thing we are sure of is that this long-awaited water taxi service will be worth the wait.

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Business people were concerned after a Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop opened in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island in 2017. Will a McDonald’s be next?

Anna Maria Island has always been home to mom and pop shops so the opening of chains opens up the floodgates to, what’s next? Chains want to come to our popular Island that over the last few years has become a year-round vacation spot. What people love most about Anna Maria Island is that Old Florida feeling you get when you visit. There isn’t a McDonald’s, Burger King or Starbucks on every street corner which suits property owners and visitors alike.

For years now people have been talking about the ‘if or when’ a McDonald’s will come to the Island. Rumours have been circulating recently about a McDonald’s opening at 699 Manatee Avenue, the site of a former Bank of America. Since the branch closed permanently December 5, 2017 speculation has been rampant about possible new tenants.

On December 20, 2017 three signs reading “McDonald’s Coming Soon” were found posted on the Bank of America site at the intersection of East Bay Drive and Manatee Avenue. One of the signs was posted facing East Bay Drive traffic, one faced Manatee Avenue West and another was on the turn lane for northbound motorists from East Bay Drive to access eastbound Manatee Avenue West and the Anna Maria Island Bridge.

Not long after sign sightings, the phones at the Holmes Beach city hall were ringing off the hook.  Holmes Beach Commissioner, Pat Morton said,  “it’s somebody’s idea of a joke and it’s not going to happen”. According to Holmes Beach code enforcement officer, Nate Brown, the signs were phoney and posted illegally and he confirmed that the property is not zoned for a restaurant.  From a distance the signs appeared authentic, but looking closely the signs were made of a thin paper covering old political signs from 2016 Forward Manatee. The signs have since been removed.

Gone for now is the excitement — negative or positive — spurred by the purportedly imminent arrival of the burger chain.

My opinion – NO McDonald’s, NO problem, the abundance of restaurants and food options on Anna Maria Island are endless.

We will not be disappointed if a McDonald’s is never built on Anna Maria Island. We, like others, enjoy the quiet Old Florida charm of our beloved Island.

For the latest up to date news, things to do, events and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog


I cause of great concern for Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island 34217 and the residents and tourist of Anna Maria Island is the Cortez Bridge.
When we vacation on Anna Maria Island we love to sit back, relax and enjoy the surrounding beauty.
Coming on or going off the island can be challenging at times. Turning onto Cortez Road or Manatee Avenue and then there you are, stopped. Looking ahead at the lineup of cars you see the Drawbridge starting to lift and you know you will be sitting there a while.
Some people say they don’t mind waiting on the bridge for the boats to pass. But, for those on vacation who plan to just quickly pick up a few things and get back to the Beach, waiting for the drawbridge can be frustrating. It looks like some relief has arrived.
The U.S. Coast Guard has reduced the number of bridge openings from three times to twice an hour at both the Anna Maria Island and Cortez drawbridges. Cortez Bridge, with a vertical clearance of 22 feet is on State Road 684.-Cortez Road. It spans the Intracoastal Waterway between the Village of Cortez and Bradenton Beach. The Anna Maria Island Bridge has a vertical clearance of 24 feet. It spans the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway connecting Perico Island to the East and Holmes Beach to the West.The Cortez Bridge near Bradenton Beach and Anna Maria Maria Island/ Manatee Avenue Bridge near Holmes Beach are now to be opened twice an hour instead of three times an hour from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. On demand from boaters the bridge will open at 15 and 45 minutes after the hour, daily, on a year-round basis. Both bridges are required to open on signal from boaters from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. As per federal regulations any Public vessels — those owned and operated by the U.S. government, including the Coast Guard— a vessel in distress or vessels with tows may request an opening at any time.The Cortez and Manatee Avenue bridges are tended and the openings are logged 24 hours a day, seven days a week.A lengthy process, bridge timing discussions originated in 2014.  Traffic and congestion have been frequent topics of discussion at the Island Transportation Planning Organization (ITPO) meetings. ITPO includes the Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach mayors, Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) representatives and others. The MPO and island mayors requested in February to reduce the number of bridge openings. They stated that the surge of traffic previously associated with winter and spring tourism is now year round.The changes to the drawbridge opening schedules approved by The Coast Guard and The Florida Department of Transportation, which owns and operates the bridges, took effect October 5, 2017. According to the ruling the change provides reasonable needs to both land transportation and water navigation.

While vehicle wait time has been shortened, boaters adjust to the new bridge time openings. Next time going off or coming on the Island you might try to avoid 15 and 45 past the hour. That is, unless you enjoy watching the boats lined up to pass under the bridge, which is be a truly beautiful site. It’s your vacation, we’ll let you decide.

For the latest up to date news, event, things to do, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog

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