MANATEE -- County officials are hoping to clear the way for a Formula 2-class boat race to take place along the Manatee River Feb. 6-7.
An ordinance amending county laws, slated for consideration Tuesday by the Manatee County Commission, would provide an exemption for U.S. Coast Guard-permitted boat races, said Alan Lai Hipp, county environmental program manager.
"The current ordinance doesn't include exemption language for a Coast Guard permitting," Hipp said Monday.
Event organizers must apply for the permit, which governs various boating safety issues, officials said.
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"Every agency can weigh in and provide comments, but the Coast Guard is the ringleader on this because it's happening on the water," said Dave Gustafson, executive director of the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority.
The racing boats are 12- to 15-feet-long, and cover a course about a mile long, said Gustafson.
"We're very hopeful about the permitting and glad to
go through it. The environment is extremely important to this," said Gustafson. "We all live here and take care of the environment and safety first."
The economic impact of the boat race is expected to be about $8 million to $10 million, with approximately 75,000 spectators, split between the north and south sides of the river, he said.
Event partners include the cities of Palmetto and Bradenton and Manatee County, said Gustafson.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.