The third longest bridge in Florida is slated to open in just over a month, but in the meantime Franklin County commissioners are trying to decide what to do with the old bridge. The county has five bidders who want to lease the bridge and transform it into fishing piers. Now, the county is trying to decide which proposal will reel in the most money.
What once was the only passage to and from St. George Island may soon become a tourism hot spot. Franklin County commissioners are mulling over recent proposals to transform the 1960's design into a fishing pier. This comes as a newer, longer, wider bridge is almost complete.
On one side folks would find restrooms to use and lighting to attract the fish. Then Soule says the other side would have concessions where families could gather for a day of fishing and fun. While some local businessmen are seeing dollars signs at the idea of leasing the old bridge- others feel the bridge should stay under the county's control.
Still, county officials say they'll take their time in deciding what is the best move.
“We're going through it gingerly , we have people who know more about fishing piers saying go, go, go, we want to make sure we know what we're getting into., so we're going slowly," says Franklin County administrator, Alan Pierce.
Pierce says commissioners have never been involved in a leasing operation like this before, but he does say the state will hand over the bridge to the county come February or March of 2004. If the old bridge becomes a fishing pier, Pierce says it will stretch 3,000 feet on either side or 6/10's of a mile.