I must disagree with the Herald's editorial opinion calling for more public investment in East Manatee.
Turning East Manatee farms and orange groves into more houses when most of the job growth is in tourism, constructing new homes is a recipe for economic failure. Maybe I have read too many Carl Hiaasen books, but to me East Manatee development, especially Lakewood Ranch, the 50 square miles owned by Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, is sucking the life out of older, established neighborhoods. Except the beaches.
Let me be clear: it's a free country and if people want to live out east, have at it. If you get enough tax revenue to build schools, roads, malls and rowing centers, go for it.
But if your school budget falls short because you want to build new schools and relocate the population out east, then you are producing blight in other areas.
Finally, the beaches. I haven't been to the one out east but we are hearing a lot of noise from Anna Maria and Holmes Beach about traffic and parking. Maybe they could put sand along the banks of the new rowing center? Or dig a canal to Lakewood Ranch?
I could go on but the bottom line is that Sarasota and Manatee counties will grow, and responsible government should not allow its core area, the land between Bradenton and Sarasota, to degrade while it sprawls in another area.
It's time to add the school and transportation upgrades' full cost to impact fees instead of asking the state and the general public to finance private growth and profit while producing congestion and blight in the older neighborhoods.