Bradenton's Riverwalk skate park expected to be a key attraction

mvalverde@bradenton.comJuly 26, 2012 

BRADENTON -- Brett Papini says there is nothing else like it in Florida.

Bradenton's Riverwalk skate park, part of the 1.5-mile construction project along the Manatee River, will draw large crowds of skaters, Papini predicts.

Papini is a builder with Team Pain, a company that has been creating skating facilities since 1997 throughout the country and in Belgium.

"This is one of the most epic spots," Papini said Wednesday, standing atop a 9 1/2-foot-deep skate bowl and glancing at the Manatee River. "It's so serene."

Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston said the skate park will be a "first-class" venue, "not just a concrete bowl."

"It looks like an art form," he said.

A grand opening showcasing the $6.2 million Riverwalk renovations is scheduled for Oct. 18.

A day dock near the Green Bridge is 98 percent complete, says David Gustafson, executive director of Bradenton's Downtown Development Authority.

A splash fountain, playgrounds and two beach volleyball courts are some of the features city officials hope will

attract thousands of Bradenton and regional visitors.

The Riverwalk construction area spans from the Green Bridge to the northeastern border of Manatee Memorial Hospital. Construction trucks and workers are scattered throughout the site as work continues on different elements of the project.

The project is at an overall 75-80 percent completion point, according to Gustafson.

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

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