MANATEE -- The Tourist Development Council on Friday unanimously approved a four-year agreement to allow the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to purchase a $523,600 advertising package from the nonprofit that operates Nathan Benderson Park.
Under the agreement, Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates Inc. will allow the Bradenton Area CVB to display banners and other advertising in the rowing venue, on the SANCA website and through its social media platforms.
"We feel it's time to get our brand at that venue on a year-to-year basis," said Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area CVB, an organization that promotes tourism in Manatee County.
The money, which is collected through bed taxes, will be spread out over four years: $120,000 in 2014, $123,600 in 2015, $140,000 in 2016 and $140,000 in 2017. The agreement can be renewed and extended to 2020 if SANCA fulfills its obligations to the county.
SANCA must raise capital funds, for instance, to complete construction of the finish tower and boat house by January 2017. Those additions would come just in time for the 2017 World Rowing Championships, which are expected to draw more than 40,000 spectators to the area and create nearly $1 million in economic impact.
"We'll review and see how they're doing and then consider a second three-year agreement," Falcione said.
The deal must be approved by the Manatee County Commission before it can take effect.
Paul Blackketter, SANCA president, said the boat house is currently under design and the finish tower should be completed by summer 2015.
"We feel very confident that we will deliver and complete the facilities before the world rowing championships," Blackketter told the Herald on Friday.
In other business:
The TDC unanimously approved the installation of 25 changing stations along the beaches and new bike racks in public parks for a total of $75,000.
Beachgoers have been using bathroom stalls to change, and bikes are being chained to trees, Falcione said.
Walter Klages, president of Tampa-based Research Data Services, reported 570,000 Manatee visitors in 2013, an increase from 450,000 in 2009.
"The recession is over. We definitely have come back to deck level and I think that is a very critical thing," Klages said. "The economy does matter. It matters to us, the business that we're generating."
Sabrina Rocco, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7024. Follow her on Twitter @sabrinarocco.