Riverwalk expansion plans in the works

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BRADENTON---It may take a while for it to actually happen, but plans are in the works to expand Bradenton's top attraction, the Riverwalk.

According to Dave Gustafson with the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, the plan is to double the size of the current Riverwalk, making it a total length of 3 miles.

"The enthusiasm of the city and the energy and economic impacts that the Riverwalk has made on this community, we can't ignore what this will do in the future," said Gustafson.

If the expansion happens, the attraction will be lengthened 1.5 miles to the east of Manatee Memorial Hospital.

"Our goal is to do a similar process that we did with the first phase, and reach out to the community and make sure the community is an integral part in this planning process," said Gustafson.

Little is known about the planning at this time, but Riverwalk visitors are already expressing optimism over a proposed expansion.

"I think it would be great. I love walking on the Riverwalk and it's good exercise," said Sandy Sereno of Bradenton.

"I think they've done a good job with what they've done so far. I don't know what you can put on the rest of it, but I'm sure they'll think of some good things," said Sandy Silverman of Manatee County.

It cost a little over six million dollars to construct the current Riverwalk. It remains unclear how much this phase will cost and what amenities may come with it. There is no time frame on when construction would take place.