SARASOTA, FL--- With the 2017 World Rowing Championships secured -- Sarasota and Manatee county officials are return to the Suncoast from South Korea. But they say now the real work begins.
"Our next big step is the fund raising getting the boat house built, the finishing line tower, all the amenities to host the world rowing championships," said Paul Blackketter with Benderson Corporation.
The group held a press conference about the World Rowing Championships to thank everyone for their efforts and release details about their plan of action. Benderson is tasked with spear heading the construction improvements needed to host the world rowing championships. Officials estimate the total cost to be around $40 million of which they have already received some funding.
"The last $5 million we got from the state include the finishing tower the starting platform," added Blackketter.
Still there are portions of the project not yet funded. But support from both Sarasota and Manatee counties has officials confident that they will get the money needed to get everything up and running. And the remaining balance will have to come from donations. Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta says the investment is well worth it. "Its basically putting us on the map." The hole area the hole region, its great for economic development, its great for tourism, and the citizens for both communities," added Barbetta.
Officials expects the championships to generate more than $25 million in bed and sales tax revenue. But the profits from the event is just part of the excitement.
"They're also community rowing programs for young boys and girls to teach them things like perseverance, team work, and how hard work will actually reword them," said John Krotec from Nathan Benderson Park.
Those community programs will make up about 85% of the daily uses of amenities being added at Benderson Park, which many say will give area children the opportunity to excel at rowing. A move that has many residents excited.
"I think this is going to be a point of honor that we can have as citizens of Sarasota," said Ronnie Riley.