Lakewood Ranch based home builder John Neal and his wife Rebecca have donated more than $1 million in land along Wares Creek to the city of Bradenton.
The seven parcels are located near the Ballard Park neighborhood, and range in size from 5,000 - 32,365 square feet.
“We felt this area, right in the middle of the Ballard Elementary School district with several historic neighborhoods bordering these parcels, was in need of a transitional space,” said John Neal, president of John Neal Homes, said in a news release. “Some of these waterfront pieces of land on and near the newly dredged Wares Creek would make a lovely spot for a park or rowing facility.
The city of Bradenton paid $284,661 for the parcels that are worth $1,325,000.
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“We are so thankful to John and Rebecca Neal for acquiring this land and generously donating it to the city,” said Bradenton City Council member Patrick Roff, who represents the area. “I am looking forward to turning around properties that have been nuisance problems for the past two decades or more, and in essence offering us a redo on the Ballard Park area.”
In the release, Roff said he’d like to see a passive park on the largest parcel of donated land, which he said would give the public a chance to access Wares Creek for fishing, canoeing and kayak launching.
“We are so grateful to John and Rebecca Neal for this generous donation that would be perfect for a park or dedicated open space,” Mayor Wayne Poston said in the release. “That will encourage more resident interaction and really invigorate this part of the city."