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South area of Coquina Beach parking lot to close April 1 to improve drainage, parking

The southern end of Coquina Beach parking lot will close Monday, April 1, for several months while Manatee County improves stormwater drainage and parking conditions.

The project is part of a two-phase project to reduce flooding at the popular public beach. Phase 1 is scheduled for completion by Spring, 2020. Once that project is complete, Phase 2 will begin with similar work being done on the north end of the parking lot. When complete, stormwater will drain more quickly, helping to address frequent flooding and standing water conditions at Coquina.

Chad Butzow, acting Public Works Director, said the project also involves striping parking spaces for 865 vehicles. An indeterminate number of cars can park there now since there are no designated spaces. Phase 2 will not impact large parking areas like Phase 1 since it can be done in smaller segments over time.

"This is a long term and much-needed project," Butzow said. "We all need this drainage improvement to have a top-notch beach parking facility."

During the project, Butzow recommends beachgoers to use Manatee County Area Transit's popular Island Trolley to get to Coquina Beach. Riders can connect to the free trolley from MCAT's Beach Express route on Sundays and holidays.