Bradenton Riverwalk project slated to receive $499,500 grants

mvalverde@bradenton.comApril 25, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Two state grants totaling $499,500 will be used to finish the Bradenton Riverwalk project, David Gustafson, executive director for the city's Downtown Development Authority, said Tuesday.

The Southwest Florida Water Management District will provide $400,000 to cover some costs associated with design, permitting and construction, according to the development authority.

A $99,500 grant from the Florida wildlife commission's Boating Improvement Program will help pay for a day dock expected to be constructed along the Riverwalk east of the Green Bridge.

Gustafson told DDA board members Tuesday that the $6.2 million project is on schedule and that a grand opening is expected for Oct. 19.

Gustafson said sections of the park would be completed at different times and that a fishing pier was about 90 percent complete.

Michele Weaver, board member, asked Gustafson if they would make features at the park available for public use as they are completed. For instance, students out of class during the summer may be interested in using the planned skate park before school resumes, she said.

"As we progress, those conversations are going to occur," Gustafson said, adding that the matter had not been determined. "As we get closer, we'll have a better idea."

In other business, Gustafson said the Manatee County Commission next month was slated to review a parking lease agreement related to the construction of a new hotel in downtown Bradenton.

Gustafson said the agreement was the "last big component" needed to move forward with the construction of a Hampton Inn & Suites hotel at the site of the former Manatee River Hotel, commonly known as the "Pink Palace."

A tentative agreement was reached last week between developer Widewaters Braden

ton LLC and Manatee County for the lease of a parking lot of about 30 spaces. The lot is on the southwest corner of 10th Street West and Fourth Avenue West.

The county commission is scheduled to decide on the agreement May 8, he said.

Anthony Cerniglia, master patrol officer for the Bradenton Police Department, was introduced to the board members as the officer in charge of monitoring the city's downtown.

Cerniglia said he had worked for the police department for 15 years and took charge of patrolling the downtown area early this year.

Miriam Valverde, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow on Twitter @MiriamValverde.

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