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Quarterly Catch-Up

Quarterly Catch-Up

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport

An Overview of Bradenton’s Recent Events


As we step further into the new year, bundled up against the lingering winter chill, the Bradenton area is already abuzz with notable developments. From exciting new projects to much-anticipated openings, the community is bustling with activity and looking forward to a year packed with progress.

Links on Fire

What an exciting way to start their 100th year! Bradenton Country Club hosted the LPGA Drive-One Tour Championship over the last weekend of January, the 25th through the 28th. Bradenton native and Olympic Gold Medalist Nelly Korda took home the win after a bumpy start, making this win her 9th LPGA tour victory. The ladies’ golf event hosted 120 players competing for the $1.75 million purse.

Photo: Chris Seman

Creating a refuge

Manatee County opened its Gopher Tortoise Resort at Duette Preserve in December 2023. With 452 acres dedicated to the tortoises, this new project will house over 800 Gopher tortoises, a threatened species in Florida. The burrows created by the Gopher tortoises, usually found in dry sandy-upland habitats, provide refuge for more than 360 other types of wildlife. Because of developmental changes in their natural habitats, many of these turtles have been uprooted, but now the displaced tortoise will have a haven to burrow.

Photo: Manatee County Government

Everyone is welcome!

Manatee County is beginning construction on its first ADA-accessible playground at Tom Bennett Park. The park is a $1.2 million playground project joint venture between Manatee County and the Bradenton Kiwanis Club. In honor of celebrating the club’s 100th year, they wanted to do a unique project to benefit the community. The club, which donated over $780,000 to the playground project, wanted to provide a play area for children of all abilities, thus allowing them to use every piece of equipment on a playground. As a result, the new 13,000-square-foot playgrounds will include some cool features like ramp accessibility onto the play structures, multiple slides, a climbing wall, climbing nets, built-in sensory and cognitive activities, zip lines with accessibility seats, a wheelchair-accessible merry-go-round, shade covers, and synthetic turf ground. The park construction is expected to be completed by this spring. It will be located at 400 Cypress Creek Blvd., Lakewood Ranch.

Photo: Mac Aldrich

All aboard!

The much-anticipated Gulf Island Ferry has finally opened and is running. The ferry, called the city-to-sand water shuttle service, provides a water shuttle from the Bradenton mainland to Anna Maria Island. The new ferry service operates Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Park downtown Bradenton, then catch the ferry at the Bradenton Riverwalk. The stops will be at the hour at downtown Bradenton and Anna Maria Island. Be sure to check the schedule. In case of inclement weather, the ferry will not be running. Also, plan ahead and purchase tickets online.

Record highs continue

The numbers are in, and the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) has reported another year of significant growth. With the spike in travel recorded nationwide, it is no surprise that the airport experienced an increase of over 12% from last year’s numbers of around 3.8 million in 2022 to  a whopping 4.3 million passengers in 2023, which is a 215% increase over 2018 and 3 million more passengers than the 1.3 million passengers from five years ago. This means a demand for more infrastructure, which has already been tackled significantly. Future airline schedules show an increase in inbound and outbound seats at SRQ. In addition, construction has already been underway on a new concourse with five additional aircraft gates, expanding the ground transportation area and adding new food and beverage concessions. The expansion is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with the new gates opening in early 2025.

Photo: Sarasota Bradenton International Airport

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