While East Manatee and North Manatee have seen vibrant new projects since the recession, West Bradenton has seen little to no reinvestment. New construction and new jobs are at a standstill. It is time to act when good projects come along to bring overdue revitalization, and Aqua by the Bay is one of them.
Community planning should be done wisely. Which is why I am encouraged by the plans for Aqua by the Bay. Change does not come without growing pains, and Manatee County is familiar with resistance to growth... think back to Lakewood Ranch’s inception. Lakewood Ranch saw the same negative rumblings in the form of misinformation spread to cloud the facts about the plans that Aqua by the Bay is grappling to overcome. Would anyone have any complaints about the wonderful community, the tax base and class of people we have in Lakewood Ranch? No! Give the developers of Aqua by the Bay a chance to build the same type of community in West Bradenton.
This new community deserves support. The Aqua by the Bay neighborhood will preserve the shore’s mangroves, even enhancing the area with a wetland buffer that protects them. The new neighborhood is poised to create hundreds of jobs, new businesses and a tremendous tax base to support education and new infrastructure. The plan will include commercial retail areas: new restaurants, personal services and offices, commercial retail neighborhood areas, and dedicated areas for homes.
Rejecting positive change would be doing a disservice to our current and future residents. I hope this is only the beginning of a movement toward the responsible growth of our local economy and community. I am glad to see Aqua by the Bay on the table and believe it will help lead West Bradenton toward a vibrant future.
John Saputo, owner of Gold Coast Eagle Distributing