Over the past 30 plus years, the Preston family has a long history of providing for West Bradenton traffic improvement projects as the community grew. There is a road-widening project right now (53 Ave) that is an example of this involvement. There are many others to cite, i.e. El Conquistador Parkway, 75th Street west, Cortez Road, and others.
The tourism industry for Manatee County is a billion dollar plus industry that supports many businesses and families in our community. The beaches just happen to be the number one attraction for many Bradenton area visitors and residents. There are 2 bridges that are over 50 years old and lead to that amenity which have sustained the growth of the community. Those bridges are obsolete and need replacement as the draw bridges contribute to traffic congestion by opening frequently during the busy season. We spend millions of dollars pumping sand on the beach to accommodate more people and millions of dollars promoting the area as a vacation destination all over the world.
Even though the lion’s share of the traffic estimated in the future will not be Peninsula Bay’s traffic, the development will make positive contributions to the transportation network in the following ways:
- Access to the water, and therefore, an alternative mode in the form of water transportation to the beach and surrounding recreational opportunities.
- A resort destination atmosphere with waterfront hospitality and dining attractions, which are presently only available on Anna Maria Island. Providing these alternative destinations has the potential of capturing traffic for the area before it goes to the beach.
- New roads providing better and safer ingress and egress for residents already living adjacent to Peninsula Bay.
- Traffic impact fees generated by the project will be spent in the vicinity of the development. Understand that impact fees paid in east county cannot be spent in west county.
- Additional roadway improvements may be required for final site plan approval to meet concurrency and/or operational safety.
Additionally, the County and the Lake Flores development have conceived of a park and ride concept to get people to the island via mass transit and are continuing to meet to make this happen.
Extending a multi model trail system to the beach has also been discussed as a possible way for the immediate area to mitigate traffic within the Cortez vicinity and, when the Cortez bridge is rebuilt, should connect Cortez to the beach with a quick transportation option that is not easily available to those living farther away.
Furthermore, the Local Development Agreement (LDA) between Manatee County and Manatee Fruit Company in 2011 will provide the assurance that both the Lake Flores and Peninsula Bay developments will contribute the to the County roadway network by improving the system. This agreement represents the foresight that was conceived, many years ago, for the eventual development of these properties consistent with the County’s comprehensive plan.
Lastly, but of significant importance, our market research firm, Robert Charles Lesser and Company, (RCLCO), completed an economic analysis for both Lake Flores and Peninsula Bay. Both projects combined would provide ad valorem taxes to the county and school board in excess of $15 million every year after complete build out. The Lake Flores and Peninsula Bay projects not only pay for themselves in terms of county services, but they provide a significant surplus each and every year – dollars that can be directed to further infrastructure improvements.