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Quarterly Catch-Up

Quarterly Catch-Up

An Overview of Bradenton’s Recent Events


The countdown to 2024 has begun, and as we deck the halls and eagerly await the new year, let’s take a moment to unwrap some of the latest happenings in the greater Bradenton area.

Convention Center Renovation

The Bradenton Area Convention Center is in the midst of a massive transformation, thanks to a $48 million expansion and renovation project funded entirely by tourist development tax. This upgrade includes a 36,000-sq.-ft. expansion, featuring a new 14,000-sq.-ft. ballroom and a climate-controlled corridor connecting to the new Marriott Palmetto Resort and Spa. Two outdoor plazas will also be added to enhance the event space. Situated near the Manatee River, this convention center’s central
location and easy access to international airports and highways is set to attract new conventions and meetings. The renovated spaces will coordinate with the Marriott Palmetto to provide a cohesive aesthetic. The project is slated for completion by late 2025.

Photo: Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Park Renaming and Dedication

Governor Ron DeSantis Park was officially dedicated in October 2023. The newly updated 17-acre park is located at 7510 Prospect Road, Sarasota, Florida, just north of Kinnan Elementary School. Named in honor of the 46th Governor of Florida, the park now boasts long overdue updates. These new family- and dog-friendly facilities include two separate playgrounds, two dog parks, fitness trails, two shaded pickleball courts, permanent restrooms, ADA-accessible parking, and solar lighting, which is part of the Light-Up Manatee initiative.

Photo: Manatee County Government

The Return of a Beloved Market

After nearly a year of closure, The Coquina Beach Market reopened in October. After delays from Hurricane Ian damage and parking lot construction, the market will finally be open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. With much anticipation, a reported 80 vendors are back to serve up their wares. The market is located on the southern end of Anna Maria Island at Coquina Beach, right before the bridge to Longboat Key.

The Coquina Beach Market
Photo: Surfing Coconut

Marking History

Bradenton Tropical Palms, formerly known as Bradenton Trailer Park and founded in 1936, unveiled a new marker on October 20, 2023, at 2310 Tamiami Trail. This trailer park’s journey began as a visionary project by the Bradenton Chamber of Commerce and was realized by the Bradenton Kiwanis Club. The Kiwanis directed the proceeds from the project to benefit the area youth. As the years passed and ownership shifted, it has
grown into a vibrant, resident-owned cooperative community. The new marker commemorates its rich history and enduring legacy.

Breaking the Ground

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Herrig Center for the Arts took place on September 14, 2023, marking a new chapter for ArtCenter Manatee. The 28,000-sq.-ft., two-story facility’s construction will have commenced by the end of September and is expected to be completed in late 2024. This transformative project will not only enhance the entrance to Bradenton and provide essential greenspace but also expand the gallery, classrooms, office, and offer larger kitchen space. During construction, ArtCenter Manatee will continue its regular operations, with classes, exhibits, the gift shop, and events unaffected. Once construction is complete, the existing building will be replaced with a community park and sculpture garden, creating an inviting entryway into Bradenton. The new center will be located at 888 Avenue of the Arts, Bradenton, Florida.

Preserving the FISH

After 23 years of extensive environmental restoration, the “FISH Preserve” in Cortez, Florida, a 100-acre coastal wetland, celebrated its inaugural event in November 2023. The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (FISH) initiated this project in 2000, and it’s adjacent to the historic Cortez Fishing Village.

The preserve underwent significant environmental restoration, involving invasive vegetation removal and the creation of waterways to restore the natural flow to the Bay, revitalizing aquatic habitats. This crucial restoration was a joint effort of FISH, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the EPA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Plans for future enhancements include boardwalks, additional trails, and informative signage to make the preserve more accessible to the public.

Upscale Dining Coming to Town

In early 2024, downtown Bradenton will welcome a new dining experience, Taverna Toscana, an upscale Italian steakhouse and seafood restaurant by celebrity chef Fabio Viviani. Well-known from Bravo’s “Top Chef,” where he earned the title of “fan favorite,” Viviani is collaborating with local restaurant group BABB Hospitality and Bradenton entrepreneur Steve Herrig on this exciting venture.

This 220-seat restaurant, spanning 7,500 square feet, will occupy a prime location just north of the SUNZ Insurance high-rise at 1301 Sixth Ave. W. Visitors will enjoy ample on-site parking and the option of valet parking.

Grand Reopening Coming Soon

Local favorite enRich Bistro is under construction. The new restaurant space, at 5239 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, is slated to be bigger and better than its previous location. Look for delicious cuisine by Chef Rich Knowles to return in 2024.

Celebrating 30 Years of Waterfront Dining

The Beach House Waterfront Restaurant celebrates its 30th anniversary with a ’90s nostalgia twist! Enjoy throwback guest favorites like coconut shrimp with boom-boom sauce, pan-seared crab cakes, or beechnut grouper. Founder Ed Chiles’
commitment to sustainability and farm-to-table dining is evident with locally sourced ingredients and organic produce from their own farm, Gamble Creek. Located at 200 Gulf Drive, Bradenton, the Beach House is the perfect blend of taste
and environmental responsibility.

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