While our family thought about the future use of our land with its farming limitations, it wasn’t until two separate research studies – one by Manatee County and a second from the Urban Land Institute – that we developed our vision as each concluded that our empty farmland could be better served as a community asset and economic generator if its recommendations were implemented.
Below are some of the key findings in each report.
Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute is an independent panel of experts whose mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. In its March 2013 report, the panel reported:
- Leverage IMG’s international reputation to “brand” Manatee County as the sport training capital of America.
- Extend the sports brand to medicine by attracting specialized sports injury repair, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement medical practices and facilities.
- Target investment in the Southwest / Bradenton sector.
- Development of vacant farmland in Southwest County into a mixed-use master planned community with new types of retail and housing products would be a game-changer for the county.
- Focus on infill and revitalization maximizes the return on existing investment and reduces the need for new basic infrastructure… getting more bang for the investment buck.
- Integrate a Vision: Integrate sports, recreation, technology and industry; Create regional and local destinations; Leverage environmental assets; Create multi-modal connectivity: parks & trails, streets, bike & pedestrian amenities, transit
Manatee County: How Will We Grow?
Completed by the Manatee County Government in February 2013, the How Will We Grow? report analyzes alternative plans and their impact on infrastructure and service delivery. The County reported the following:
- The results generally recognize that past practices of restricting the county to low-rise and low-density development types is not a recipe for a community that wants to attract better employment opportunities, businesses and a younger and more educated workforce.
- People’s expectations are changing. They want to live in greener, more walkable communities
- Remove barriers to mixed uses, along with a mixture of building types, supported by pedestrian-friendly, walkable communities along transit routes.
- Crime [in Southwest County] and the perception of crime affect property values and the viability of many commercial businesses in the area.
- Little development has occurred in [Southwest County] in comparison to growth areas in North and Southeast County.
- Areas of the Southwest County lend themselves to redevelopment with higher density due to the existing grid system of roadways, existing water and sewer systems, and school capacities.
- The development of the [area] may have a trickle-down effect economically to the county and will bring more investment to the US 301 and US 41 corridors.