Lincoln Park will be home to Manatee County’s first pool north of the Manatee River.
“This pool location is victory,” Commissioner Charles Smith said.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the Manatee County Commission approved the park, which is located at 501 17th St. E., Palmetto, as the location for the next community aquatic facility.
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“We think that Lincoln Park is a site that most importantly honors the legacy of Lincoln High School and now Lincoln Middle,” said Charlie Hunsicker, the county’s parks and natural resources director. “It is a central location that serves most of the community of Palmetto.”
With the commission’s approval, county staff will now work with Palmetto to “develop the design, construction and funding of a community aquatic facility,” according to agenda materials. Hunsicker said the county is proposing the county pay two-thirds of the cost with Palmetto paying the remainder.
“There are, of course, many details to work out,” Hunsicker said.
Commissioners directed staff to issue a report at the April 25 meeting about how the pool will be funded, including how much Palmetto will contribute.
“I want the pool,” Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant said. “I want the pool at Lincoln Park. I will tell you today that we don’t have the funds. ... It is not likely to be a million because I can’t tell my constituents that, and I won’t tell them that.”
A multi-pool concept is proposed at Lincoln Park to “include a support pool having zero depth (beach) entry and an expanded splash area with the main pool having a 6 to 8 lane competitive component,” according to agenda materials.
Several Palmetto residents who visited the park Monday afternoon were excited for the pool they say they’ve been promised for years.
“It means the world because growing up we were always promised a pool at the Palmetto Youth Center. I’m 59 now, and we’re getting a pool. It’s going to be outstanding,” said Clayton Allen, a resident of Palmetto.
Allen lives in a community near Lincoln Park and says now that a pool is coming, it feels like somebody cares. He said he grew up catching rides to east Bradenton to get to a pool.
Allen isn’t the only adult excited for a pool to come to the park.
“It’s going to be a great thing once the schematics get worked out,” Anthony Mack, a real estate agent in the area, said. “It will give (the kids) something to do. It will give them something to be proud of.”
Mack hopes the pool will build athletic competition within swim teams.
Several Manatee County residents spoke in support of the pool during Tuesday’s meeting.
“We do believe that this will make a tremendous impact to the total community,” said Lawrence Livingston, a longtime Washington Park resident.
This pool will help restore dreams, Manatee County resident Katherine Edwards said.
“This pool is going to be a wonderful achievement for Manatee County and for north county,” Edwards said.
Also on Tuesday, the commission:
▪ Gave conceptual approval as well as directed staff to work with Rotary’s Suncoast Playground Projects Inc. to build three barrier-free inclusive playgrounds in Manatee County.
▪ Supported a proposal to the Florida Legislature to seek an additional $600,000 for the completion of restoration and revegetation phases at Robinson Preserve.
Herald staff writer Sara Nealeigh contributed to this story.
Key design elements of proposed pool
- Two pool facilities including a main pool and a support pool facility
- State-of-the-art filtration and sanitation systems
- Shaded pool decking
- Locker/restroom facility
- Lifeguard/first aid offices
- Expansion of the existing splash pad area with larger deck space, shade structure and additional water features
- Expanded parking availability
Source: Manatee County government