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Mote Marine moving forward with plans for new outreach center at Anna Maria City Pier

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 9:29 PM EDT
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ANNA MARIA ISLAND, Fla. (WWSB) - Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is moving forward with plans to build a new marine science education and public outreach center at the Anna Maria City Pier.

This week, Manatee County commissioners approved the city’s request to use $500,000 in tourist development tax funds for the construction of the Mote Marine Educational Outreach Center.

The pier was recently reconstructed following Hurricane Irma.

The center will be built in the 1,800-square-foot empty space currently located at the pier. It will include several live animal exhibits and interactive exhibits. Mote’s Education team will also provide regular programming for the public that will help them better understand and appreciate the area’s native flora and fauna and learn conservation-minded fishing practices.

“We are thankful for the vision and leadership of Mayor Murphy and the Anna Maria Island City Commission and the overwhelming support of the Manatee Board of County commissioners,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, Mote Marine Laboratory president and CEO. “Mote has long since been a leader in informal marine science education and outreach, both locally and abroad. We look forward to expanding that leadership, in partnership with the community, as we construct and maintain an interactive and immersive Marine Science Education Center at the Anna Maria City Pier that will educate both locals and tourists as to the importance of coastal conservation.”

County commissioners are using tourist development tax funds for their donation.

“The really good news is this doesn’t come from our taxpayers, it comes from the people who visit here,” said Manatee County Commissioner Misty Servia, who serves District Four. “This is from the people who stay in our hotels. We call it a bed tax.”

Construction is expected to take around six months.

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