In 2009, Harvard crew coach Harry Parker visited the grounds and had a vision. He said, "This could be the best rowing facility venue in the U.S. Since he was here, the facility has grown exponentially. Now, by many assessments, the facility is world class and the finest in the U.S. With plans of hosting the world rowing championship in sight and hosting other water sport games, both counties are happy to be on the international rowing map.
It's not just the many different rowing sports (Kayaks, dragon boats and canoes) that the facilities are built for. They can handle a multitude of sport games simultaneously. Those running the facilities see it as venue of choice for triathlons and other sports, as well as festivals of all kinds. Benderson Park has already been akin to "Outreach" programs for Vets and others, and are looking to expand their hospitality.
Rick Piccolo, Director and CEO of Sarasota Bradenton International Airport has also been hard at work making this entire development worthy of global recognition to the rowing world. He believes that the economic impact study that has been requested will reflect results of far more economic promise then had even been expected.
Florida's economic successes clearly come from those that visit more so than those that move here. This is the first real magnet that will attract people from all over the globe, giving the region an opportunity to facilitate and accommodate an international audience. That means jobs which directly translates into financial security. It's not only big, clean and fun, it is an economic engine that can roar for decades to come.
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