What Independent Studies Recommend


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:

  1. Leverage IMG’s international reputation to “brand” Manatee County as the sport training capital of America.
  2. Extend the sports brand to medicine by attracting specialized sports injury repair, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement medical practices and facilities.
  3. Target investment in the Southwest / Bradenton sector.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

7 comments on “What Independent Studies Recommend

  1. Darlene K.

    I also like the small farm idea, no high rises and bay protection. This is what we have found the younger generation to want, we need to look to what is attractive to balance our population. Also, can’t imagine anymore traffic on either Manatee Ave. or Cortez Rd. trying to come off/on the islands.

    The Kmart store in NW Bradenton is a disappointment and I can tell you that many people I know have tried to shop there (it is convenient to our NW area) only to leave disappointed and go to another store to shop. (The Kmart corp. has their head in the sand and is missing a great opportunity) The point is some of our present commercial areas are underutilized and until they are most of us would not support more of this. (Albertsons corner as well.) Maybe Target should look at these centers? Really don’t want to be a throw away society anymore/want to be good stewards of what we already have. People invest in “Charming Communities”. Please continue to address code violations that make our community look dumpy!

    Like the downtown area overall. Little too heavy on pubs but coming along beautifully. Hampton Inn is beautiful. I wonder if a Chelsea Market (NYC) idea would work here?
    Really fun place to spend some time and money.

    Also, are the plans grandfathering commercial properties to have natural store fronts and low signage? This really improved other communities elsewhere as well as more landscaping/Florida friendly shade !

    And one last thing, advertise Beach Shuttle parking better. (If we still have it) I think a non stop from I-75 area(s) as well as Mid town areas off Cortez and Manatee/ especially weekends is a good idea. Explain that transfers to the Trolley will get them to other points on the Islands,etc.
    Talking to a transportation specialist would be good I think?

  2. Barbara J.

    Half of Long Boat Key seems to enter & exit via Cortez now. There needs to be another bridge to Long Boat to help the traffic on Cortez!

  3. marcia c.

    Have you learned nothing from the disaster of Lakewood Ranch and University Mall? Where/how are you planning to have all the traffic move? Cortez Road and 75th St. are both bursting at the seams (especially during ‘season’) and with all the homes and business you’re planning, there will be traffic jams galore. Please rethink this.

  4. E. E.

    I am very sad to see this development going to happen. The environment is being destroyed. There already is lack of flora and fauna…There are way too many empty houses..utilizing water and electricity while the sit vacant. If it must be developed leave it Agricultural and develop lots with homes for small farm living…There are people around who would like to have a garden, chickens and plant veggies…Build homes on a smaller scale for living the farm life. There is not much land left for commercial farming. Where are all the vegetables, flowers , cattle going to survive to feed us.?..We alread have enough product from other countries…Please …think long on development of any kind…This is appalling!!!!

  5. William F.

    I asee no plans to tprovide an additional highway connection to Long Boat Key! Why not? With all the new residents expected in SW Manatee County the traffic on Cortez will be at a total standstill!

  6. William F.

    Where are the simplified overview plans that a normal citizen can review and appreciate?

    Where are the plans to expand Route 70 all the way to Long Boat Key to handle the hugh increase in local traffic?

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