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High bridge replacement plan spurs Save Anna Maria opposition

Save Anna Maria president Ursula Stemm speaks to a gathering of 30 people March 26 at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 6608 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach. SAM secretary/treasurer Nancy Deal walks alongside a table with literature from Suncoast Waterkeeper. SAM and Suncoast are nonprofits that share a goal to save the seashore.

Environmental activists who advocated for seagrasses and fought against stormwater discharge in Anna Maria Sound when a new bridge was proposed in the 1990s are back in the ring for another round with the Florida Department of Transportation.

Save Anna Maria leaders were at a March 11 kick-off meeting where DOT unveiled its plans to officials and residents from Manatee County, Bradenton and the Anna Maria Island cities.

SAM didn’t like what it saw.

The grassroots organization — a fierce opponent to a proposed megabridge more than two decades ago and other environmental causes since, but relatively quiet after DOT survey results in 2008-2009 favored a high fixed-span bridge — is opposed to the proposed replacement bridge that links Holmes Beach and Perico Island.