Palmetto moving to attract businesses in revamped neighborhood

Neighborhood ready for development

nwilliams@bradenton.comDecember 31, 2012 

PALMETTO -- Now that Palmetto's $2.3 million Fifth Street West revitalization project is complete, the city is looking to lure builders and businesses to the revamped neighborhood.

Palmetto's Community Redevelopment Agency has made plans to put out bids for builders and developers to purchase property at 926 Fifth St. W. The property, which can accommodate six small buildings, is vacant and officials hope attracting businesses will stimulate the local economy.

Jeff Burton, director of Palmetto's CRA, said the city is looking for candidates that will add a multitude of commercial businesses, which can include restaurants, banks, retail or a grocery, or that may build a church or additional parking.

Burton said there is also potential for multi-use buildings that would allow housing above businesses.

"It's a great opportunity," said Commissioner Charles Smith, who presents Ward 1, the location of the revitalization project. "We have Sutton Park right there and we have people calling us willing to relocate business, bring jobs and opportunities."

The revitalization project, titled "Fifth Street Streetscape," took about two years to complete, but should have been done within one. Delayed permits and a misunderstanding of what streets were to be fixed under a federal grant were among reasons the project fell about seven months behind schedule.

The project consisted of infrastructure improvements to the area bounded by 10th Street on the south, Eighth Avenue on the west, 12th Street Drive West on the north and

Fifth Avenue on the east. The work included improvements to roads and sidewalks, drainage, potable and reuse water, and sanitary sewer. Costs were shared between the city's Community Redevelopment Agency and a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant.

"One of the biggest things we're hearing from people coming to Palmetto is they want a clean city," Smith said. "You'll see us removing slum and blight."

Burton said the material used on the pavement will limit storm water runoff and have a positive impact on the Manatee River. The pilot project was aimed towards making downtown Palmetto a "green" commercial area.

"We're proactive," Smith said. "We're not just sitting back."

Nick Williams, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049.

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