BRADENTON -- Bradenton officials are considering listing more than 200 acres of city-owned property east of Evers Reservoir in East Manatee, and the site of the old Manatee Players building downtown, as surplus properties for sale.
A recent appraisal of 201 acres next to the 1.5-billion-gallon reservoir south of State Road 70, built about 40 years ago to supply city residents with water, listed the value at $6 million.
City Clerk Carl Callahan said it is one of a few properties the city is considering selling to bulk up its capital improvement projects reserve to draw interest to use for other city projects, including park maintenance.
The city purchased the property when the reservoir was built in case water storage and treatment areas needed to be expanded as the city grew. However, the use of reservoirs as a water source is becoming a thing of the past with the development of aquifer well technology that can draw natural ground water straight from the earth.
Callahan said the site is no longer considered critical city property and should be listed as surplus for possible sale.
"We would never use it for expansion at this point," said Callahan. "We do have people interested in it."
City council members agreed Wednesday the reservoir property served no great purpose to the city.
"Even if we put in some
kind of park out there, it would only be beneficial to Manatee County residents," said Vice Mayor Bemis Smith. "If we sold it for $6 million, that is something that can be used to greatly benefit the citizens of Bradenton."
The future of the old Manatee Players building has a wrecking ball in it. A recent appraisal confirmed the building is out of date and adds no value to a piece of land valued at $600,000. Callahan said it is a low appraisal and the parcel would likely be listed for more.
Callahan said the city could consider selling the property or continue to hold it as part of a larger vision for residential and commercial development on the riverfront. That plan includes the eventual sale of City Hall.
Ward 1 Councilman Gene Gallo said he will continue to battle the rest of the council on the sale of the old Manatee Players property, preferring more green space along the waterfront.
"I know I'm probably alone on this, but this city is losing its green areas," he said.
Mayor Wayne Poston disagreed, saying the 1.5 mile-long Riverwalk -- with plans to double in size in the future -- shows the city commitment to public space.
"And there are too many tax-exempt spaces in downtown Bradenton," Poston said. "That's something we need to change if we ever hope to build up the tax base."
Callahan said early estimates to demolish the old Manatee Players building came in at about $65,000. Callahan said once the property is placed in surplus, the city can pay for the demolition to make the parcel more attractive to developers.
Most developers expressing interest understand city goals for an expanded waterfront, Smith said, which is positive because it will begin a process of developers negotiating with surrounding property owners to set that vision in motion.
Among the goals for the site is a 20-story multi-use building, which would require additional acreage and could include the City Hall property.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.