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Quarterly Catch-Up

Quarterly Catch-Up

An Overview of Bradenton’s Recent Events


This year is flying by, and the Bradenton community is already looking forward to balmy summer days and the looming hurricane season. Here’s a look at the past quarter and what’s happening in the friendly city.

A Day at the Park

A year in the making, the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the playground at Tom Bennett Park took place on April 24. Everyone was welcomed to the first playground in the area dedicated to children of all ability levels. The Kiwanis Club and Manatee County provided funds for the project. Over time, the park will also be expanded with a water-pad feature. The park is located at 280 Kay Rd., Bradenton.

Photo credit: Lew Unger

Sharing a Ride

The City of Bradenton now offers Freebee, a free ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft and sponsored by the city’s Community Redevelopment Agencies. This eco-friendly option, featuring electric Teslas, aims to tackle traffic congestion and parking issues while promoting sustainability.

With Freebee, navigating Bradenton becomes hassle-free. Whether downtown, at LECOM Park, or the Village of the Arts, you can travel for free without worrying about traffic or parking.

Book a ride via the Freebee app, available on Android and iOS. Enjoy door-to-door service and track your ride in real time. Operating hours are limited, mainly evenings and weekends. Currently, Freebee’s free ride service in Bradenton operates during the following hours:
Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. (midnight)
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Service areas include downtown Bradenton, Old Manatee Historic District, Village of the Arts, and LECOM Park. As Freebee gains popularity in Bradenton, watch for potential hours and fleet size expansions.

Photo: City of Bradenton

Psychic Sundays Trolley Tour Returns to Sarasota

After a hiatus since October 2022, Psychic Sundays returns, now guided by Deni Dreazen, a prominent figure in Sarasota’s metaphysical community. The tour starts with mimosas at the Trolley Cottage Gift Shop, followed by energy exercises and a two-hour exploration of Sarasota’s metaphysical scene on Dolly the Trolley. Some of the stops include Pixie Dust and Crocker Memorial Church. Biweekly tours run from 1-3 p.m. Visit to book a tour.

Hope Village of Manatee

Breaking ground in Bradenton, Hope Village of Manatee will offer a supportive temporary housing program designed to assist families with minor children who are either homeless or facing the threat of homelessness. The program operates under a “supportive” model, providing mentoring, monitoring, and comprehensive case management to every family, empowering them to overcome the challenges of homelessness.

Residents may stay for up to two years, but the ultimate goal is to transition them into permanent, stable housing. While at Hope Village, residents receive support to address personal, educational, and vocational barriers contributing to their housing instability.

Hope Village emphasizes advancement rather than mere sustenance, operating on offering a “hand up” rather than a handout. Help To Home, Inc. has successfully run this program for a decade, and the expansion of Hope Village of Manatee aims to extend this vital support to more families in need.

Par for the Course

Miakka Golf Club, a new private golf club situated by the picturesque Myakka River, broke ground on its 18-hole championship course designed by Fry/Straka Global Golf Course Design and PGA TOUR player Paul Azinger. Expected to open in late 2025, the club, led by entrepreneur Steve Herrig, spans 1,100 acres and is dedicated solely to golf. Alongside the championship course, it will feature a 12-hole par-3 course, a lighted putting course, a 360-degree driving range, and a 7-acre short-game area. The course will offer walking-friendly terrain and a premier caddie program. Notably, it will utilize Stadium Zoysia grass on tees and fairways sourced from the club’s own sod farm.

In addition to golfing amenities, Miakka Golf Club will boast a clubhouse with luxurious locker rooms, private massage facilities, and a dining area opening onto a spacious patio with scenic views. A state-of-the-art performance center will offer swing analysis, professional instruction, and club fitting, complemented by an innovative putting lab and fitness center. Traditional cracker-style cabins will provide overnight accommodations, while The Still, an informal gathering spot overlooking a recreational lake, will offer various leisure activities like golf simulators, bocce, and fishing.

Drones to the Rescue

Manatee County is pioneering a new emergency response program, dispatching drones in response to 911 calls, reducing response times for life-threatening situations. In partnership with Tampa General Hospital and Archer First Response Systems, the program has received clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration. The drones, stationed at the EMS Lakewood Ranch Station, will deliver defibrillators, tourniquets, or naloxone to emergency scenes within one minute and 45 seconds to two minutes and 10 seconds, guided by a 911 dispatcher. This innovative approach holds promise in saving lives and improving outcomes, with plans for evaluation and potential expansion in the coming year.

The medical supplies delivered by the drones include defibrillators, instructional video screens designed for adults and children, and Spanish language support. While traditional EMS first responders will still be dispatched, the drones aim to expedite treatment initiation. Partnerships between Manatee County, Tampa General Hospital, and ArcherFRS will evaluate the program’s effectiveness, with plans for potential statewide scalability. The program’s operations will initially cover a 3.5-square-mile area from Monday to Friday, with future expansion to 24/7 coverage in a 35-square mile area pending FAA approval. Residents can learn more about the program at

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