EAST MANATEE -- Neal Signature Homes will build its newest "executive" community on rural land near the spot where Rye Road and Upper Manatee Road meet.
To be marketed as River Wind, the 62-home development will be built on about 45 acres previously owned by Phillip and Rosemary Stewart. According to county property records, Neal purchased the land for $1.3 million on July 9.
Fronted on the north side of Upper Manatee River Road by a row of eight homes built around 2005, the property is bordered on its northern reach by a bend of the Manatee River. The property also features a large pond.
Pat Neal, president of Neal Signature Homes parent company Neal Communities, said he hopes the homes at River Wind will start in the $300,000 range. Buyers will likely have a wide choice of options for the houses, as Neal Signature Homes is the company's custom building arm. Most homes will feature three-car garages.
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Unlike other executive home communities built by Neal's companies, River Wind is intended to draw families. Neal Communities has historically built homes for active adults.
Neal said he expects the community to open by February.
FPL set to bolster power lines against high winds
MANATEE -- Between now and the end of the year, Florida Light & Power will put about $6 million into bolstering six of its Manatee County main distribution lines against winds up to 130 mph.
According to a press release announcing the improvements, the utility has invested about $1.5 billion since the 2005 storm season to strengthen its network of electrical lines and the poles that hold them. In addition to building stronger poles to support the six distribution lines, FPL will clear vegetation from about 220 miles of electrical lines around Manatee County in 2014. The work is part of $170 million in line protection and improvement work the company is putting into its service area.
"Since the last major storms went through Florida, FPL has been involved in a massive effort to strengthen the electric system," said Dave McDermitt, an FPL spokesman.
Since 2005, FPL has reinforced 10 major power lines, placing emphasis on protecting lines serving hospitals, 911 communication centers and wastewater treatment plants. The company has inspected more than 18,000 electrical poles, cleared 1,430 miles of vegetation and inspected 43 main power lines.
High school students finish summer career program
BRADENTON -- A pilot career program for local high school students is set to celebrate completion of its inaugural summer.
CareerSource Suncoast launched a new pilot program for youth this summer called "Journey to Success." The program provided students from
Booker and Palmetto high schools 110 hours of in-depth career exploration and vocational training in construction, information technology, health science and manufacturing.
Twenty-five students were selected from each high school to participate in the Journey to Success pilot. A total of 48 youth successfully completed the curriculum. To recognize and commend each of the students, a ceremony will be held on July 30th at 12:30 p.m. at CareerSource Suncoast, 3660 N. Washington Boulevard in Sarasota.
The Journey to Success pilot program was a partnership between CareerSource Suncoast; Manatee County School District, Palmetto High school; Sarasota County School District, Sarasota County Technical Institute; and Gamma Xi Boule' Fraternity.
-- Herald staff reports