MANATEE -- Manatee County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved guaranteeing up to $2.782 million to boost a regional bid for the 2017 Rowing Championships.
The Sarasota County Commission, Manatee's partner in an effort to win the right to stage the event at Sarasota's Nathan Benderson Park, is being asked to commit a like amount as part of a "letter of financial guarantee" required of monetary supporters, according to officials at the commission meeting.
"We will not let you down," said Paul Blackketter, who heads a nonprofit organization that will be submitting the final bid toward the end of this month.
He told the board "we had to have both counties to pull this off," adding that it "only made sense" to pull together as a region.
State officials have also noticed the huge potential such an event would bring with it, Blackketter said.
Blackketter said he would be meeting staff members at the White House to discuss opportunities presented by the possibility that Florida would host the event. He also said he would be meeting with officials from the State and Commerce departments, as well.
The economic impact for hosting the event would be $12.97 million of direct spending by participants and attendees with a total regional economic impact of more than $24.6 million officials said.
If approved by both county commissions, the letters of guarantee and the bid packet are slated to be sent to the International Rowing Federation, or FISA, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
"Bring us home the event," said Commissioner Betsy Benac.
FISA delegates are slated to choose the venue for the championship in September.
The two county governments are partnering with a nonprofit, the Suncoast Aquatic and Nature Center Associates, and with Benderson Development Co. to win the right to host the event.
Tourism taxes, not property taxes, will supply the money from Manatee County, officials said.