PARRISH -- After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many sensitive facilities across the United States were closed to the public, including the cooling pond at the Parrish Florida Power & Light plant.
For the first time since Sept. 11, 2001, FPL recently relaxed its security enough to allow the United Way to hold a pair of fishing tournament fundraisers there. The first was held March 29, and the second was held May 17.
There won't be another until Nov. 1.
"Locals and folks within a 100-mile radius remember the unbelievable times that they used to have fishing Lake Parrish. And it is now through these United Way sponsored tournaments only that you can fish Lake Parrish," the Fish United Way website says, announcing registration is open for the last tourney of the year.
In the late 1990s the lake was closed to fishing by falling water levels, and after 9/11 it was closed due to security issues, said Bill Orlove, FPL spokesman.
FPL decided to open the pond three times a year after being approached by the United Way. The United Way of Manatee County, United Way of South Sarasota County and United Way Suncoast chapters share the proceeds.
"We worked out an agreement to use the cooling pond to hold this fundraiser. We're facilitating the tourney. FPL is a supporter of the United Way. We wanted to work with them," Orlove said, adding a limited number of anglers can register.
Angela Moore of the Manatee United Way said the tournament field quickly filled up as only 50 boats are allowed.
The first two tourneys raised more than $24,000 to be divided among the three United Way Chapters. In 2015, four tourneys are planned.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1.