As a former Bradenton resident and owner of property in the vicinity of the planned Riverwalk expansion development, there is vested interest in the ongoing proceedings. The Bradenton Herald article dated Jan. 4, 2018, regarding said expansion has given rise to questions.
According to Realize Bradenton, all property owners were to receive respective letters in an attempt to engage the community in the eastward expansion planning process. The bottom line is that not all property owners received such correspondence sparking the question “why not?” A computer mishap? Connecting the existing Riverwalk with Riverside Drive East seems to pose a problem. “The gap presents significant challenges in geography because of the way the Manatee River wraps around the point. Cutting through would take the Riverwalk extension through private property — it’s the one stretch of waterfront property not owned by the city.” Perhaps the one property owner who did not receive respective contact information?
If the ultimate goal is to make the connection happen, to build a boardwalk as Riverwalk Connector, then everyone has to be on the same page. The Riverwalk Expansion Plan is noteworthy as are plans for a water taxi to the Bradenton Pier which would also lie in this immediate area and would definitely represent a major asset for the City of Bradenton. But the question is, if the goal is in fact to make the connection happen, why not talk to the property owners in question? Is factoring them out a financial consideration the resolution ultimately being enforcement of eminent domain? According to Director Johnette Isham “Different ideas will be explored for the connection, but there are no predetermined answers.” Hopefully, latter will not be one of the resolutions utilized to deal with the challenges in question.