Manatee residents may benefit from state budget goodies

skennedy@bradenton.comMay 1, 2014 

MANATEE -- Represented among the many columns of figures making up the huge, $75 billion state budget are monies for treatment of emotionally-disturbed children; construction of a new science complex wing at New College of Florida; funds for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens; and support for Boys & Girls Clubs here and across the state, officials said.

About $750,000 is expected for Bradenton's Manatee Glens Mental Health & Addictions Specialty Hospital & Outpatient Practice, in response to mass shootings in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary, in Newtown, Conn., according to Mary Ruiz, Manatee Glens' president and chief executive officer.

The money will finance a Community Action Treatment team providing services to seriously emotionally disturbed children and their families in Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties, said Ruiz.

It will provide seriously emotionally-disturbed children and their families with services via a "hospital without walls," Ruiz said.

"We are glad to get this funding renewed," she said.

Also listed in the budget is $5 million in capital funds for New College of Florida, according to spokesman David Gulliver.

About $2.8 million will go for routine repairs and maintenance, while another $1.6 million is earmarked for renovation of the Hamilton student center, built in the 1960s, he said.

Another $655,000 is slated for planning for a new wing at the Heiser Natural Sciences Complex, Gulliver said.

"It's a big deal," he said, noting that New College science programs are big and growing.

College officials are also hoping that next year, lawmakers will provide construction money for the 22,000-square-foot addition, he said.

Sarasota's Marie Selby Botanical Gardens anticipates an appropriation of $500,000, which will support its education programs, said Thomas Buchter, president and chief executive officer.

The money will be used to improve visitors' experience, which includes some 3,000 students a year, he said.

"It's all designed to do a better job of teaching people about plants," he said.

Local Girls & Boys Club members will benefit from part of $10.5 million expected to be allocated statewide, according to Timothy Knowles, a member of the board of directors for the Manatee County Boys & Girls Clubs, and chairman of the Florida Alliance of the Girls & Boys Clubs.

Through various formulas for local clubs, the monies are expected to be allocated for programs aimed at such things as fighting gang violence and providing after-school learning programs, he said.

Knowles could not say exactly how much money local clubs would get, but said that, since this year's whole pot of money has gone up, local clubs probably can expect to get more than the $360,000 they got last year.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter

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