Big changes coming to downtown Palmetto

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PALMETTO, Fla. - Downtown Palmetto is getting a face lift, and city officials say they're hoping the renovations bring more businesses and more people to the area.

A hometown atmosphere in a progressive community. That's how Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant describes the city. “We've done Haven Boulevard, the roundabout, we're working on Martin Luther King Jr Park right now with some funding from SWFWMD, and we've also done Sutton Park.  That is just phenomenal.”

Just recently, the city announced it had reached a deal with three major companies, and all thanks to the efforts put forth by the city's Community Redevelopment Agency. “With It Works Global, with Manatee County Rural Health services, Electra Spa, all of that is going to be a resurgence not just for those businesses, but for the local businesses, for our restaurants, for gas stations, for grocery stores, for all those things, and we think they'll be the anchor to just really attract other businesses to the area.”

Local businesses are already taking notice. “Everything coming together, as far as the community goes, I think is awesome because we're all working together on building Palmetto back and bringing downtown back to where it was,” says Jake Cablish, who owns Norma Rae's. He says he's been in business for close to two years. “They welcomed us with open arms when we came in and it's hard to find that in a lot of places now.”

And at Grower's Hardware and Barber Shop, the owner says the renovations and growth are necessary so that the small businesses, like hers, which has been here since 1924, survive. “I think this part of Palmetto is a beautiful area that gets lost and all the businesses on old main street are suffering and i hope this brings so much more, just bring the people out here to see what we have to offer,” says Trisha Fritz.

No time is being wasted with these renovation projects, Mayor Bryant says all of them should be complete within the next 18 months.