This is a thank you note to the City of Bradenton and to my new neighbors in the Ware's Creek neighborhood. I was looking for an older place to buy in a historic area. When I found Ware's Creek, I felt right at home.
Not only does it have a high concentration of houses dating to the 1920s and earlier, it is also a city planner's dream, with safe walkable sidewalks, houses with porches, and easy access to downtown with all its attractions: the Farmers' Market, Riverwalk, the Manatee County Historical Resources Department -- in the old Carnegie Library -- the Manatee County Library, the South Florida Museum, and so much more.
Best of all, the creek itself provides incredible natural beauty, full of birds and (say my neighbors) even manatees and dolphins. Palm trees along the creek were planted in 1922 as part of the City Beautiful movement, creating a Victory Drive to commemorate soldiers from World War I.
Oh, and did I mention good neighbors? City Councilman Pat Roff lives in Ware's Creek himself, regularly walks the streets, and knows his neighbors well, helping to resolve issues, including one that I was personally involved with, before they become serious problems.
Both the Ware's Creek and Ballard Park neighborhoods combine history with natural beauty, attracting both tourists and residents to Bradenton. Yet, as local and regional economic assets, these historic neighborhoods are relatively unrecognized. Whatever the City of Bradenton can do to highlight their importance will pay for itself in increased visitation and property values.
Thank you, Bradenton and Ware's Creek, for helping to preserve and enhance this extraordinary place.
Judith Wellman, Director, Historical New York Research Associates; Professor Emerita, SUNY Oswego Bradenton