MANATEE COUNTY - 91-year-old Mary Fran Carroll is one of the few people you'll ever meet who has a bridge and a building named after her and she never gave a penny to build either of them.
The bridge over the Braden River is named after her because of her work developing Lakewood Ranch. She was representing the Uihlein family of Milwaukee fame, for Northern Trust Bank in Chicago. The bank sent her to Sarasota to decide what to do with 28,000 acres of undeveloped land they owned east of I 75.
She came up with the idea of developing it and talked the Uihlein family into giving Out of Door Academy free land to build a school there. That therefore attract home builders, and she helped develop the Polo Club, also to lure homeowners to the area. “I built a place where people are proud to live,” Carroll recalled. When she started looking for a future retirement home, she met a developer who was planning Glenridge on Palmer Ranch and became Chairman of the Board and guided its development.
In 2005, The Glenridge dedicated The Carroll Center in her honor. Encompassing more than 45,000 square feet, the center offers nursing and rehabilitation services in 61 private rooms.