Thursday, October 18, 2012
Bradenton Riverwalk opens today with many, diverse attractions scheduled
It's really happening.
Bradenton's Sandpile has been transformed into an attraction that rivals any downtown park in Southwest Florida.
After decades of various plans, both failed and fulfilled, the city's $6.2 million Riverwalk project that began construction last summer has been completed.
It will finally come alive at 4:30 p.m. today with activities ranging from walking tours to skateboarding.
Echoing the enthusiasm of a multitude of long-time Bradenton residents, Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Dave Gustafson couldn't be more excited about what has happened to the southern banks of the Manatee River.
He has lived and worked in the Bradenton area since moving here as a child in 1973.
Gustafson, like so many Manatee residents, has witnessed the city's waterfront progress, often at a glacial pace, from wasteland to destination spot.
"When you hear all these potential starts and stops and the economy killing things you just keep trying to put the pieces together," Gustafson said while surveying the Riverwalk. "It's been on the mayor's bucket list, the city council's bucket list and the bucket lists of countless others.
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—Photo: The Family FunZone at Bradenton's new Riverwalk. GRANT JEFFERIES/Bradenton Herald