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Letter to the Editor: Preserving What is Special About Manatee County


Returning to Bradenton and Manatee County in June of 2011, I had multiple reasons for coming back to what I consider my hometown. First and foremost was the remembrance of the community. I grew up here in the 70's and it was not about being a Democrat or a Republican, but a resident of Manatee County.

My family lived both in Palma Sola Park, but also Braden River. I attended and graduated from Palma Sola Elementary and Sugg Middle School. I also attended two years at Southeast High School Before my family moved away. I remember having great friends and neighbors. I also remember a county which held the 4th of July fireworks off of Coquina Beach for the entire public. I remember the Easter sunrise service on Holmes Beach.  

Today I see profit intent in what used to be community (free) events. I also see a county bursting at its seams. We do not need any more development. I spent some years in Marion County and watched a magical horse industry fall into history and be replaced by the villages and other communities. All that this “development” brought was congestion and more crime and a destruction of what had been beautiful horse farms and orange groves.

My wife, a Marion county native, remembers Ocala as a town of family and community. I myself saw it change in the time I lived there. Now I see the same happening here in Manatee County and it is disturbing. This county has so many natural and historical areas and to see them disappearing is very sad. The recent fight over Long Bar Pointe, and in my opinion the over development of the north side of Anna Maria and east Bradenton, is heartbreaking.

I am glad to see the City Pier and the Rod and Reel Pier and Coquina Beach still here, and for the most part, the same. The Cortez Village and Desoto Square Mall are still here, and I for one am pleased. The downtown skyline is a mix of old and new. Once, while I was visiting the library, I got a notion to walk a little and came to find out the old Civic Center where my sister had been married didn't disappear. It just got, well, boxed in.

My mom once had a Sunday evening organ show at the old WTRL radio station. She also was the organist at Pete Reynard's Restaurant. In fact, she was also the organist at the Palma Sola Presbyterian Church. I also remember shopping at Woolco.

Our first trip to the east of Manatee County was a house which we were going to have in an ill-fated development called Green Tree. Our second home was located in a place called Braden River Ranchettes. Still, most of my memories are of Palma Sola Park, Seville Circle, the old pump house on San Juan Blvd, and that big tree on the corner of Montezuma and San Juan Avenue.

Yes, all memories of now a 49 year-old who believes Manatee County can still be the place some of us grew up knowing; a county where the recent fight over Long Bar Pointe showed Democrats and Republicans can come together to save a place of refuge and perhaps stop the insanity of more development.

Let's encourage those willing to invest money to bring back Trader Jacks, or even better The Harbor House. I have family and friends and others who cherish the small town community and beach and that's why the tourists come here.

On November 9, they had a wonderful concert on Coquina Beach. Even though it was a bittersweet night for me, because of the obvious attempt to make that almighty dollar, I believe it was a good start to revive the main reason people stay, move back, or visit the friendly, historical, beautiful small-town Manatee County.

Charles Dood

Manatee County


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