A pool north of the Manatee River is needed but whether that pool should be at Buffalo Creek Park in Parrish or closer to the City of Palmetto has yet to be decided.
Some commissioners were not sold on county staff’s proposal of building the long-anticipated pool at Buffalo Creek Park, which is east of Interstate 75 in unincorporated Manatee County at 7550 69th St. E. Instead, they elected to have a future worksession on the topic.
Commissioners expressed the desire to name the facility after Commissioner Larry Bustle, who is retiring from the commission next month.
“The bottom line is Palmetto will not be getting a swimming pool if this recommendation is approved,” said Commissioner Charles Smith, who was the most vocal opponent of the Buffalo Creek site during Tuesday’s meeting. “They have been promised a pool forever. They will not get a pool. This is not close by. It is very disturbing. Children can’t even get there to Buffalo Creek. It makes no logical sense to me.”
But the proposed location at Buffalo Creek Park gives the potential for it to be a regional facility, Bustle said. Manatee YMCA recently purchased land off U.S. 301 with intentions to build a pool in Parrish, Bustle added.
“This can be truly an aquatic facility that can be on par with G.T. Bray,” Bustle said. “I’m not sure many other places would have that potential. ... It doesn’t neglect Palmetto. It is really a central location for a facility like this. Many people would get to enjoy it.”
County officials proposed the pool to be built at the park so it could be completely funded with impact fees. However, impact fees could still be used to fund portions of the pool if it is located in the City of Palmetto, according to the County Attorney’s Office.
“We comply with the law when we spend impact fee money,” County Attorney Mickey Palmer said.
There is land at Blackstone Park, Palmetto City Commissioner Brian Williams said.
“Don’t be afraid to put something in the city limits of Palmetto,” he said. “You can do it. You know it.”
Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant implored the commissioners to look at it very seriously when deciding the location since, “These are underserved citizens.”
“This wasn’t just a matter of where this was going to be sited,” she said. “This is a big impact to north of the river.”
A county map shows that the proposed pool at Buffalo Creek Park is approximately 4 miles from the proposed new high school at the southeast corner of Erie Road and Martha Road in Parrish.
“What about Palmetto High School? They have a swimming team,” Smith said. “We are talking about a high school that doesn’t even exist. Half-cent (sales tax) doesn’t pass you might not get any school anytime soon. It needs to be vetted.”
With a known shortage of pool facilities, Commissioner Betsy Benac said they need more information to know what the shortage is.
“I just think there is more information that is needed,” she said. “I get that Palmetto has talked about a pool for a long time. It is just a question of what gap we are trying to fill.”
Also on Tuesday, the commission:
- Approved an Economic Development Incentive Grant and a Transportation Impact Fee incentive for Project SEVILLE, which is locating a sports performance company in Manatee County. The company is projected to create 24 quality jobs over five years.
- Authorized a lease agreement and funding agreement with the Rubonia Community Association for the operation of the Rubonia Community Center for Oct. 1, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017.
- Appointed Jay Patel, owner/operator of Holiday Inn Sarasota Bradenton Airport to the Tourist Development Council.