Bradenton has an active Downtown Development Authority (DDA) that also oversees a 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), an active Central Community Redevelopment Agency (CCRA), and a city council. They all work together, and each of them holds meetings. But April 26, 2010, was the first time these groups all held a meeting together in the same room.
City Clerk Carl Callahan says they held the meeting in a meeting room at the Manatee Central Library, a block away from city hall, because they wanted a "collegial atmosphere" rather than one group on a dias with everyone else in audience-type chairs the way the Bradenton city council chamber is laid out. The DDA boardroom was too small, and the city auditorium, besides being far larger than needed, was still being cleaned from the weekend's DeSoto festival activities.
The keynote speech was delivered by James Carras, a well-known community redevelopment design, planning, and funding expert. (The video below this article is of Mr. Carras's presentation.)
Mike Kennedy of the DDA, Sherrod Halliburton of the CCRA, and several city council members also spoke, as did city clerk and chief of staff Carl Callahan, who acted as chairman and moderator.
Councilman Harold Byrd, the main driving force between this inter-group meeting, says he'd like to see more of them, possibly as many as once per quarter, "although that might not be practical," he says, pointing out that "it took six months to schedule this one."
One suggestion from several participants was to hold future multi-agency meetings in the evening so people with regular jobs can attend. Callahan noted, however, that such meetings should be of limited length, with one and a half hours being about as much as most people would be able to take time out of their busy lives to attend.
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