Letters to the Editor

Bradenton DDA too valuable to dissolve

I don't know how to calculate the value of the Downtown Development Authority to Bradenton, other than my own involvement with it.

But I was stunned to read that it might be disbanded, when my personal experience with it has been recognizing how much value it has added to Bradenton as a place to live, work and play.

If the DDA had not been such a passionate promoter of Bradenton, I would not have initiated the small real estate developments I am working on downtown.

If Dave Gustafson had not been so passionate about promoting downtown, 604 Manatee Ave. W., the old former Miller Furniture building, vacant for decades, would still be vacant and would have deteriorated further.

Now we've renovated about half of it and just welcomed the first two new tenants to that stretch of West Manatee in decades, a commercial laundry and a professional photographer. And Riverwalk has had a tremendous impact on 604 Manatee and that neighborhood, and I know the DDA had a lot to do with Riverwalk.

The DDA has been my interface with Bradenton. When I have had a problem, I call the DDA and they direct me to the right person to speak with.

If the DDA is closed, who becomes my new Bradenton interface? Who on the City Council will call me when they learn a popular gym is looking for a downtown location, as Dave Gustafson did?

So I am not sure what the total contribution of the DDA has been to Bradenton, but I know what I have contributed to the enhancement of Bradenton, and none of that would have come about without the passionate promotion of Bradenton by the DDA.

The DDA seems essential, to me, to the continued growth of Bradenton.

Vincent Crisci