The Bradenton area celebrated the opening Thursday of the newly renovated Riverwalk, a community development project spearheaded by the City of Bradenton, the Downtown Development Authority and Realize Bradenton.
Many business leaders and residents attended the ceremony and many others have already begun utilizing the amenities Riverwalk provides to Manatee County.
Riverwalk is the start of something big and it will bring more people to the downtown area. Once that happens, we'll start seeing more restaurants and shops opening up, which in turn will create a more urban downtown feel and will enhance the quality of life for our residents.
From a tourism standpoint, Riverwalk will be a hub for leisure activities that appeal to all age groups. In fact, a robust schedule of events is already in place during the grand opening season, including the first annual Blues Festival in December.
These events, as well as the many cultural attractions within walking distance such as the South Florida Museum, The Manatee Players and the Village of the Arts, will gain attention in our top visitor markets. Keep in mind the more amenities available to a visitor, the more money they will spend and the longer they will stay, making Bradenton a true "visitor destination."
Riverwalk is not only good for tourism, as it's an incredible asset for our residents as well. It provides areas to play and relax as well as areas to learn and to enjoy the beautiful river location.
Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston recently said it best.
"The Riverwalk has been my dream, even before I was elected mayor. As mayor, I felt it became my responsibility to make it happen. Thanks to virtually thousands who bought into the vision and helped us create the final plan, the Riverwalk is now a reality. The work exceeded my greatest expectations in creating what is truly a
downtown park for everyone."
For more information on Riverwalk and the events scheduled, download a copy of the Riverwalk Grand Opening Season Guide at http://www.pageturnpro.com/Realize-Bradenton/43773-Bradenton-Riverwalk/index.html.
Please share any photos you may have taken at the grand opening and throughout its inaugural season and post them on our social media pages. You can find us on Facebook at "Visit Bradenton Gulf Islands" and Twitter @VisitBradenton. For additional information on the destination, visit www.BradentonGulfIslands.com.
Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, can be reached at Elliott.Falcione@BACVB.com or 941-729-9177, ext. 222.