As a small business and property owner in the city of Bradenton, I have never been happier with the positive progress in downtown Bradenton.
We have seen the successful completion of many public and private projects that have replaced blight and vacant spaces with parks, businesses and other improvements that have added vitality to our downtown.
A whole host of people and organizations are responsible for this momentum, including the City Council, mayor, businesses, volunteers and citizens.
However, the Downtown Development Authority has had a large part in these projects. The DDA staff has done a tremendous job in spearheading these efforts and in working with all the various constituencies necessary to bring these plans to fruition.
They are in a unique position to work with the mayor, the City Council, investors and the extremely valuable and talented DDA boards to shape ideas, reach consensuses, negotiate the fine points, soothe egos and shepherd projects to completion.
This is why I am puzzled by the City Council's rush to radically change the structure of the DDA and CRAs. Particularly when you have the mayor, the Chamber of Commerce, the DDA boards, multiple investors (of the very kind we want to attract) and the Bradenton Herald urging them to not radically change the current structure.
The City Council controls the DDA, they approve all expenditures, they are invited to attend their meetings, they have a designated representative and they give guidance.
So what control do they have that they don't already have?
The DDA serves a needed role that cannot be replicated by a political body.
Please add my small voice to the loud chorus asking you to leave the DDA in place as is and perhaps enhanced with more input and direction from the City Council and mayor.