MANATEE -- Speakers from the public Tuesday praised and encouraged Manatee County leaders, saying they have made many correct calls, and the high quality of life here reflects that.
"Let's be bold!" said Michael J. Maxwell, managing partner for a Miami real estate development firm, who was the team leader on an Urban Land Institute report issued in March.
"This is your chance to do it!" he told a panel comprised of 20-some county officials during an update of the report, which focused on how best to plan growth in the future.
"You guys have been doing a good job," said Sara Hand, co-founder of BarCamp Sarasota-Bradenton.
Many visitors enjoy the new Bradenton Riverwalk, a linear park on the banks of the Manatee River, she said.
"You as a county and as a city, you should recognize the Riverwalk; you should say, 'We've done a great job' with it,'" Hand said.
The area is a destination to which people want to come, State College of Florida President Carol Probstfeld told the panel, meeting at the Bradenton Area Convention Center.
Every year, SCF hosts a variety of events, from academic competitions to baseball tournaments and cultural events, that draw people here, she said.
One difficulty of accommodating them is a problem many communities would love to have: Not enough hotel space or transportation options, Probstfeld said.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.