Sarasota News Leader

05/09/2014

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SANCA needs another $22 million to be ready for its international debut — on top of the $19.5 million it already has from Sarasota County and the $10 million previously allo- cated by the Legislature. And Blackketter talked of half that $22 million coming from the 2015 Legislature, though he conceded SANCA needed to score the same amount through private fundraising in the interim. We are willing to concede that Blackketter's $5 million figure in January 2013 did not encom- pass all of the infrastructure envisioned for the park. Still, why does the price tag keep going up, up, up? For some time, local watchdogs have bemoaned the Sarasota County Commission's continuing contributions to the park, giving the rowing venue a far higher priority than other projects sought by community resi- dents. When Commissioner Mason raised her concerns on April 23, no one else lent a squeak of support. The fact that County Administrator Tom Harmer and Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker attend SANCA's meetings seemed sufficient in terms of oversight, Chairman Charles Hines indi- cated. It is not. SANCA has done nothing to demonstrate it can find the private money to help pay for all the rest of the facilities necessary to show the world that Benderson Park deserves the 2017 World Championships. What will the counties do, though, if they are faced with a choice of a debacle of gigantic proportions on an interna- tional stage or ponying up the extra money? We know the answer, and it has an odor far more foul than that of rotten eggs. Sarasota and Manatee counties must act now to ensure that we, the taxpayers, will not end up with a $20 million-plus bill that we were assured a long time ago we would not have to pay. % LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Sarasota News Leader wel- comes letters to the editor from its readers. Letters should be no more than 300 words in length, and include the name, street address and telephone num- ber of the writer. Letters should be emailed to Letters@SarasotaNewsLeader.com, with "Letter to the Editor" in the subject line. Let- ters actually printed will be selected based on space available, subject matter and other fac- tors. We reserve the right to edit any letters submitted for length, grammar, spelling, etc. All letters submitted become the property of The Sarasota News Leader. The Sarasota News Leader No-Nonsense Reporting OPINION Sarasota News Leader May 9, 2014 Page 101

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