MANATEE -- The Manatee County School District is dropping the idea of selling McKelvey Park, in the wake of a large public outcry against the idea.
"I will not pursue selling any portion of McKelvey Park at this time," Mills said in a news release. "I cannot say that the need to revisit the issue will not surface at some time in the future; that will depend on the future financial needs of the school district."
The district had been considering an unsolicited offer to sell the park, which is adjacent to Miller Elementary School, as one way to help clear the district's finances of red ink.
In the release, Mills acknowledged the opposition by many in the community to idea of selling the three-acre park. Mills addressed the future of the park during a public meeting Tuesday attended by several hundred people.
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"As I expressed Tuesday evening, I am a firm believer in our democracy and in the right for citizens to participate in the process of governing," Mills said. "So I thank all of the students, parents, school staff members and concerned citizens who took the time to let their voices be heard on this matter."
Mills cautioned the idea of selling the park could resurface, and said it is his hope that Manatee County or the city of Bradenton would buy the land and maintain it as a park.
"The school board the superintendent are responsible for representing what is ultimately in the best interest of all of our students and all of our schools," Mills said.