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Tourist Development Council Commits Funds for Rowing Championship Games


BRADENTON -- The possibility of the International Rowing Championships being held at Nathan Benderson Park Rowing Facility dominated the talk at Wednesday's Tourist Development Council (TDC) meeting. The Florida Legislature must have some interest too, because in its new budget, it allocated $5 million to the park, contingent to the rowing facility being awarded the games. So what's the chances of the Sarasota/Bradenton area being thrown onto the world regatta stage? Well, the TDC members weren't popping the champagne, but I might have heard some rattling glasses.

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At Wednesday's meeting, Elliott Falccione, Executive Director of Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), explained just how close the Sarasota/Bradenton area is ready to be put on the global sports map. 

Falccione presented members with a promissory note from FISA, the International Rowing Federation, requesting both Manatee and Sarasota BOCC guarantee a note for $3.2 million each, reassuring necessary funds for the rowing championship operation budget. 

Handling the event's finanical responsibilities, if Nathan Benderson Park is rewarded the games, is Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Association (SANCA)

SCANCA's plan with Sarasota and Manatee Counties is for non-stop private sector fund-raising until the $6.4 million needed goal is obtained, eliminating any need for a public funding promissory note. 

TDC Chairwoman, Carol Whitmore said, "We would be representing the United States of America."

Falccione said he would also be seeking federal funds with hopes to avoid the county guarantees, and use of "public funds," though obviously, federal funds are in fact public funds, as would be the state's funding.

On June 4, 2013, the Chairmen of both County Commissions must sign the financial guarantee note that was displayed at Wednesday's meeting. If signed by both counties, it will be included in the final bid packet which is due to the rowing federation by June 21, 2013.

TDC members voted unanimously to approve presenting the funding guarantee to the Manatee BOCC where Falccione will be delivering his presentation of June 5, 2013.

Other business before the TDC at Wednesday's meeting was a unanimous approval of $25,000 to go for sand dune restoration under the enhanced beach maintenance program.    

The final vote by the TDC was a unanimous approval for the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau's proposed FY2014 and FY2015 Marketing Plan and Budget.


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