Future of Manatee County discussed by residents

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 4:56 PM EDT
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The fifth and final meeting of the initial “Forward Manatee” series met at the Braden River Library in Bradenton on Wednesday. Manatee County’s Bill Logan says the main concern he has heard voiced in the meetings has been a common one throughout the Suncoast.

“A lot of people are concerned with development, and making sure that development is organized, coordinated and cooperative with the people who are going to be impacted,” says Logan.

The meetings have focused on the county’s comprehensive plan, which they describe as a community vision statement, for the year 2045.

Everything has been on the table in these meetings, from roads and development, to parks and even flying cars.

“They aren’t being ruled out. Parking decks have been a big point of conversation here over the last several weeks, but cars may not be needed,” says Logan.

While local business owner and lifelong Suncoast resident Amy Fleece isn’t ready to talk about highways in the sky just yet. She says there is still great opportunity for advancements in the area.

“One of the things from many years ago was you came here for a few things and then you left. But it would be really nice for it to be a really vibrant and livable downtown,” says Fleece.

The county says estimates show 100,000 more people could be moving to Manatee County by 2045, which Fleece says the area is ready for.

“I think Bradenton can handle it. I think it’s time. I think we need more condos and apartments so people live here and walk around and can go do things and make it a really livable downtown city,” says Fleece.

The county added that there is still a long way to go in the development of this plan, with a lot more community engagement coming in the future.