TREASURE ISLAND — Bucky the Pirate is back.
For decades, the swashbuckler stood atop the Buccaneer Resort Motel on Gulf Boulevard.
When the motel was demolished in 2005, Bucky was donated to the city but was banished to stand forlornly out of sight behind the city's public works building.
For years, city officials debated how best to return Bucky to his public.
Last month, Bucky finally made his official re-debut and now, in new bright purple pants, stands with sword raised proudly at the entrance to the city's Community Center Park on 106th Avenue.
He guards his own special treasure chest — filled, of course, with pieces of eight.
As for Bucky's former home at the Buccaneer, the motel site is still undeveloped.
Initial plans to build a 75-unit, five-story condo hotel on the site fell through. Now the property owners hope the city will allow them to build a 130-unit boutique hotel.
The problem is the proposed project exceeds density rules and could be taller than codes allow.
Last November, the developers proposed that the city create a special redevelopment zone stretching along the beach from 104th Avenue to 119th Avenue.
The proposal stirred strong reactions, with at least two commissioners opposed to allowing more intensive development.
The city is seeking proposals from planning companies to help develop special area plans that would include the Buccaneer site. Developers have indicated they will help pay for the planning firm, but the cost is uncertain at this point.
City Manager Reid Silverboard said Monday that the City Commission installed after the March 10 election will be asked to decide which company to hire and whether the city will help pay the cost for developing the plan.
Any special plan would require a citywide voter referendum.