When the new Mall at University Town Center opens next month off University Parkway near Interstate 75, concerns over increased traffic in the area are expected by most motorists who travel in that area.
But not everyone.
The rowing community and those who have built Benderson Park into what it is today -- a world-class facility that netted the 2017 World Rowing Championships -- aren't concerned.
In fact, they're excited by the possibility that more people will be exposed to what's happening at Benderson Park.
"I think what's been great is with Benderson, SANCA (Suncoast Aquatic Nature Associates) and the county's involvement in the sport of rowing and now other water sports, it's just becoming more popular," Sarasota Crew head coach Casey Galvanek said. "... When that whole University Town Center is developed to what the early models looked like, there's going to be houses there; it's going to be essentially a small town like a downtown center, which would be cool. ... Benderson has done a good job in planning, and there can be some real engagement from people that go down to that location."
Despite Benderson's proximity, roughly a quarter mile, to the mall, the expansion of Cattlemen Road to the south of the facility is the reason Benderson officials aren't fretting about what to do when holding events so close to what is expected to be the area's new hot spot.
"We're linked to two major intersections," SANCA President Paul Blackketter said. "We would simply divert our directions to the venue to the south entrance, where you come up Cattlemen Road. And that's convenient for our parking. That's where a majority of our parking is at the south part of the venue."
Blackketter also said events are typically held during off-peak weekend hours and that part of the park's mission to increase quality of life for the region -- which includes alternate modes of transportation, "walk-ability and bike-ability" -- are other key reasons why influx of traffic isn't a concern for Benderson Park.
The plan to use the land, which had previously been barren, for a University Town Center equipped with shops, a mall and multi-use sports venue began in 2005 and 2006. And while plans have been tweaked through the years, the core philosophy of performing constant studies of the area has enabled Benderson to feel comfortable heading into October's unveiling of the new mall.
"Having that type of resource right there kind of overlooking the venue is something ... we see the development to the north as good energy," Blackketter said. "It's basically a symbiotic relationship to what we have and what we're doing."
Benderson Park, though, isn't just a rowing facility. It's known for that, but Blackketter said only 15 percent of the park's events are rowing-related.
There are cross country, track and field and StandUp Paddleboarding events conducted at Benderson, just to name a few.
"This is definitely a multi-use venue, county park, a little bit of everything that can be used by the everyday person," Blackketter said.