Letters to the Editor

Aqua by the Bay ‘smart’ for not locking in design for year 2037

Aqua by the Bay will be an icon of our community and support our economy. But the Manatee County Commission left some asking for specifics about the project’s design.

I wanted to elaborate on why it would be irresponsible to create detailed building designs for buyers in the year 2037, which is why we are not seeing that yet from the developer.

For 40 years, I have been designing and manufacturing outdoor lighting products here in Bradenton. I am tasked with looking into the industry’s future, and have seen rapid changes over the decades, accelerating with technology.

Ten years ago, few of us saw the switch to LED coming. Five years ago, we still didn’t know where it was going, and tomorrow through the next five years, we are not sure what will drive the public’s wants and needs. Long-range planners who built factories for lamps are out of business. They locked plans in too early.

Long-range planning today means resisting the urge to lock “something” in for the sake of doing so. We must keep options open and be prepared to rise to the changing market, economic and environmental needs.

Manatee County needs flexibility for developers, just like General Electric, Ford and GM have learned to do. Aqua by the Bay cannot predict what the market will demand 20 years from now. I urge the commission to approve its smart plan, which will logically consider design specifics closer to the time of construction.

Michael Imparato