Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Welcome to the newly named Bradenton Area Convention Center: commentary

"The Manatee Convention and Civic Center," didn't exactly roll off the tongue.

So Manatee County leaders shortened it to "The Manatee Convention Center."

Which, to many people, probably still sounded like a meeting place for sea cows.

Thanks to the recent 5-2 vote by county commissioners in favor of change, the newly renovated building at One Haben Boulevard in Palmetto will be called "The Bradenton Area Convention Center."

Although not exactly sexy, at least the name makes sense, especially from the all-important tourist's point of view.

"The problem is, nobody knows where Manatee is, there's no city of Manatee, that's the problem," said Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore.

Having graduated from high school and college in Tampa, I have to agree with Whitmore.

Even during the year or so I spent living in downtown Sarasota in my early 20s, before moving to Bradenton, I would get confused when someone said they were from "Manatee."

Joe McClash, whose more-than-two-decade run on the Manatee County Commission will soon come to an end after losing to challenger Betsy Benac, said he preferred to leave it "Manatee County Convention Center."

He also suggested "Palmetto Convention Center," since it is technically located in Palmetto.

I've also lived in Palmetto.

And trust me, pretty much nobody outside of Manatee County knows there's anything but a plant called palmetto.

So, great, it's The Bradenton Area Convention Center.

Now, if we could just get some exciting sporting events or concerts under that renovated roof

—A view of the main entrance to the Bradenton Area Convention Center. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

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