BRADENTON -- As construction of a shopping plaza at First Street and 13th Avenue West nears, residents are being invited to attend a public meeting Thursday to brainstorm ways of memorializing that historic location.
Demolition of the 13th Avenue Community Center building was completed in early June and a new Save-A-Lot grocery store and other businesses are expected to be built there starting this October.
"The center started back in 1937, at that time it was the cornerstone of the community for programs, services, activities, educational and recreational," said Patrick Carnegie, president and chief executive officer of United Community Center Inc., which operates the 13th Avenue Community Center.
Bradenton's Central Community Revitalization Agency will be hosting a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the new grounds of the community center, now named the 13th Av Dream Center, to come up with ways of paying tribute to the people, activities, and history that shaped the former center.
Tim Polk, CCRA'S executive director, said that after hearing the community's input, an ad hoc committee of seven to nine people will be formed to deal with concrete ways of memorializing the center. Food and drinks will be served and all district residents are invited to attend, he said.
"We are hoping to get input on the kind of things and events that happened there over the history of community center," said Rebekah Brightbill, CCRA manager. "There's a lot of people that have a lot of memories of what happened there."
Carnegie said that although the center has moved its operation and the building has been demolished, the center is "still alive and thriving."
A mural, plaque, or statue could be ways of preserving the history of the site, he said.
"There are so many thriving things going on at that site, it's fitting for the community to honor that legacy with some type of memorial or statue," Carnegie said.
The meeting will be held at the 13th Av Dream Center, 922 24th St. E.
For more information, call 941-746-7470 or 941-744-2362, ext. 105.