Sometimes simple measures mean the world to neighborhood improvement. In the case of Village of the Arts, where hopes are high for a properous future, a city of Bradenton official envisioned that the designs on expanding the neighborhood's boundaries to the west and north would be approved by the end of this year.
Those few extra blocks, only one on each side, are quite meaningful. By roping in 14th Street West and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, two busy traffic corridors, more and more people will gain awareness of the galleries, restaurants and other small businesses in the Village.
Signage would alert motorists that they are entering the Village. Simple.
More than that, though, Bradenton Planning & Community Development Tim Polk told Herald urban affairs reporter Mark Young the boundary expansion would place those blocks inside an overlay district. The Village overlay district will "encourage a mixed occupation of homes and businesses," Polk stated, already prevalent in the Village today.
This type of overlay designation does not require anything of businesses inside the boundary expansion, and thus we would expect little if any opposition from those enterprises.
While the new boundaries are contained in the overall Plan to Act Tapestry Project, the movement forward on approval is another sign of progress on the broad city strategy to attract more artists and boost tourism and economic development.
Village of the Arts already carries the distinction of being Florida's largest artist community. Bounded on the south by 17th Avenue West and a block west of Ninth Street West to the east, the current 42-acre neighborhood holds some 30 businesses.
The city of Bradenton, Downtown Development Authority and Realize Bradenton collaborated with Village interests and the greater community in composing the Plan to Act strategic revitalization project.
This year, several private enterprises vital to the creation of entertainment district opened businesses there.
Bradenton Motorworks Brewery stands at one of the gateways into the Village, on Ninth at the northern end. Darwin's Brewery, near McKechnie Field on the neighborhood's southern flank along 17th Avenue West, is another valuable addition to the city's vision for an entertainment district.
Later this year, the Artists Guild of Manatee should enjoy a permanent headquarters after a home remodeling project is complete -- thanks to the generosity of Jerry and Zoe Averkamp. The couple purchased the dilapidated residence to serve as the Herbie Rose Village of the Arts Welcome Center, a grand idea that will enable new visitors discover all the details about this artist enclave.
The pending village expansion follows other simple projects bound to impact visitation. Earlier this year, the black antique-style streetlamps received a fresh coast of paint -- in bright colors that yield a visual distinction that reflects the Village's creative atmosphere while also.
In June, Bradenton's City Council stamped its final approval on an important infrastructure upgrade. With rain storms causing street flooding, thus scaring off visitors and hurting Village businesses,
This $340,616 drainage project features construction of a new stormwater drainage system in 10th Avenue West, as well as a new 6-inch water main in 10th Street West. Besides addressing the flooding problem with far larger stormwater drainage pipe, a new water main will improve water distribution in the area.
The project is expected to begin in a month or two and take about four months to complete.
The Village of the Arts is on the rise thanks to the city's focus on strengthening this community asset. On the boundary extension, we anticipate approval by the Bradenton City Council when this matter comes before them later this year.