Sarasota News Leader

01/25/2013

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Sarasota News Leader January 25, 2013 Longboat Key Vice Mayor Dave Brenner suggested Haley and Blackketter contact ESPN basketball analyst Dick Vitale, who lives in Sarasota County, to seek his help in arranging talks with ESPN. Brenner pointed out that the sports cable network needs constant programming, so it might be interested in the rowing championships. Page 48 Regarding Phase III infrastructure, Blackketter provided specific cost estimates. Among them are the following: • Regatta Island water and sewer and electrical systems: $800,000. • Finishing towers with timing mechanisms: Three are needed at a cost of $40,000 each. "It is incredible," Brenner said of the oppor- • A starting line tower and timing huts: tunity for Sarasota and Manatee counties to $80,000. host the event. • A three-story tower at the finish line that would contain timing equipment and provide FACILITIES UPDATE space for the referees and the news media: Already, Blackketter told the TDC, work is six A basic structure would be $800,000. Howevmonths ahead of schedule on the park's row- er, Blackketter said, the goal is to expand the ing facilities. The goal is to have most of the initial facility to make it capable of multiple permanent structures in place by March 2015. uses. The expanded version would cost up to Beyond that, Benderson executives estimate $2 million. it will cost $5 million to complete the Phase • A starting line platform with all the necesIII work. State financial support will be sought sary precision timing apparatuses: $375,000. again this year, he pointed out. As for a grandstand: Blackketter said he had Last year, the company won $5 million from found in his visits to rowing venues around the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott for the the world that "the biggest mistake is that they rowing venue work. are not adequately shaded." Phase III includes the starting tower, timing If the park cannot afford a permanent struchuts, installation of audio/visual systems and a ture with sufficient shade at the outset, he notregatta navy to transport referees and provide ed, staff would work with contractors to put safety support to the rowing teams, Blackket- up temporary covered facilities. ter noted. "It's pretty impressive, isn't it," Patterson said "We feel very confident that we will complete to her fellow TDC members after Blackketter this," he said. completed his presentation. Beyond that, Blackketter added, plans call for They nodded agreement. the construction of a community boathouse, which could be rented out for all sorts of "Thank you to the TDC," Haley said. The Jan. events, to generate income to make the venue 17 vote, she pointed out, was "the first official step" to winning the bid. % self-supporting.

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