Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A sense of pride on Pine Avenue

It's tough to turn down an assignment on Anna Maria Island. On Monday, I spent a couple hours on Pine Avenue to talk with business owners for today's story on the small business district.

Tourists and residents alike were enjoying the beautiful weather while strolling the sidewalks, cycling or sitting on the front porches of the Pine Avenue Restoration developments.

Two longtime Anna Maria residents I met were Tom Tollette and Mike Pescitelli. They were sitting outside the Olive Oil Outpost on Pine Avenue enjoying their morning coffee. They chatted about many things, including the 100-year anniversary of the Anna Maria City Pier and the business district that has been preserved on Pine Avenue.

They imagined what life was like when the pier opened in 1911 and tourists came by steamer from Tampa to the city pier and strolled down Pine Avenue to the Bath House looking to enjoy a day or more at the beach.

"You figure this was the concept for this street 100 years ago," said Pescitelli. "People sitting on porches, having their morning coffee talking about the weather."

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