PALMETTO -- Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant has announced her intention to seek a third term and will be filing paperwork with the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections on Friday morning to make it official.
Bryant was first elected in 2008, defeating two other candidates, and was unopposed for re-election in 2012. Thus far, no one has filed to challenge her in the November election.
Bryant said it's a critical moment in the city's history and that she is running to ensure that Palmetto continues to be a city of choice in which to live, work and raise a family.
"It has been my honor to serve the citizens of the city of Palmetto for the past eight years," she said. "Under my watch as mayor, we have a successful course, making Palmetto a beautiful, livable community."
Palmetto is undergoing a significant transition with major improvements completed, underway and planned. Bryant cited road and infrastructure improvements such as the Riverside Park West boat ramp, parking lot and dock renovations, as well as the resurfacing of Haben Boulevard, the Fifth Street redevelopment project, city gateway improvements and the implementation of the city's Aquifer Recovery System as examples.
Projects underway include the Riverside Park seawall replacement, which will be followed by the living shoreline project.
"One of the things so critical right now is the (Florida Department of Transportation) and (Southwest Florida Water Management District) multi-modal project," said Bryant. "The funding is in place for it and we have a huge planning process ahead of us to figure out where we want parking and more historic lighting. It's going to be a major process and once that's in place, we'll be moving forward and I'm so tremendously proud to be a part of that. People notice the changes and improvements in the city and we are at a real critical point where we can have the support and strive to continue those improvements."
The city has been able to accomplish a lot with little expendable revenue. Over the past six year, it has collected more than $8 million in grants and other funding sources for the current projects, not including an additional $10 million secured for the 2021 completion of the multi modal trail.
"One of the first things I did as mayor was get the ball rolling and everyone on the same page that we don't have a lot of money to deal with, but if we work diligently to seek every external dollar we can, we can make a difference," she said.
Groover Bryamt previously served as a city commissioner from 1993 through 2004 before making her mayoral run in 2008.
Her message to voters is simple: "I hope they look around and if they like the progress we are making, I hope they give me the opportunity to continue," she said.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.