Palmetto has definitely seen change in recent years, with beautiful new developments taking place. But how have these changes really affected Palmetto's citizens and businesses?
The comments I personally hear from citizens indicate they do not really understand the reasoning behind some of the city's projects. That doesn't necessarily mean the projects are good or bad, it may only mean that there has been poor communication. Citizens are asking why their concerns and suggestions are ignored and discarded. Businesses feel they must fight with the city to survive, while they wish the City would provide some assistance to help revitalize downtown.
Palmetto is a city with great history and culture. It is still very much a "good ol' boys" community, a place where you can still do business with a handshake.
In Palmetto, people expect your word to be your bond. I would have thought Brian Williams would know this after 21 years on the commission, yet earlier this year, this paper reported that Williams not only approved the $15 million police station, but wanted it "put to bed" quickly.
In the recent endorsement, it states that Williams is concerned about it. Which one is correct? I do know that in the meeting just last week, at Riviera Dunes, Williams was still defending the $15 million project.
The article also mentions "a remarkable string of civic improvements and economic development", and yet there has been a small exodus from Main Street, as business ventures have failed, leaving vacant buildings.
The boat ramp is another issue. The CRA survey shows that only 10 percent of people using that ramp live in Palmetto, and anyone who has ever used that ramp will tell you about its parking problems. Now the city is expanding the boat ramp, which will create still more parking issues for our downtown. This might be great problem, if only we had businesses that could benefit from all of this boat traffic. Unfortunately, even the gas station that could have benefited was torn down.
I love Palmetto, and I believe that together we can do better.
Eric F Gilbert, is a candidate for Palmetto City Commission, Ward 3.