Sarasota News Leader

10/26/2012

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OUR NEAREST COMPETITOR TOP STORIES Bradenton experiencing just the beginning of booming times — Stan Zimmerman In four days, Bradenton broke a mold. Long derided as a non-des- tination by Sarasotans, on Oct. 18 it opened what Bradenton lead- ers hope is a civic attraction that will draw one-quarter of a mil- lion visitors per year. While not a huge figure by Disney World standards, that number of people coming to see the new amenities would provide a significant boost to downtown merchants and restaurateurs — and provide "heads-in-beds" at the 1920s era downtown hotel which is under restoration and appropriately renamed the Riverpark. A year ago, the 1.5 mile stretch along the Manatee River from the Green Bridge to Manatee Memorial was just piles of sand and building materials. It is a dream 30 years in the making, at a cost of $6.2 million. Once known as "the sandpile," it is the site of strolling pedestrians. (Full story here) FOCUSED ON THE ECONOMY Christine Robinson seeking her first elected term on the Sarasota County Commission — Rachel Brown Hackney For Sarasota County Commissioner Christine Robinson of Venice, her campaign focus has been jobs and the economy. Even the annual citizens survey undertaken by Sarasota County has shown the economy to be the No. 1 issue since 2008, Robinson points out. "We've made a lot of progress," she says, with the unemployment rate having fallen from an average of 12.2 percent in 2010 to 8.7 percent in September. Still, the com- mission needs to keep its sights on measures it can continue to take to lower the rate even more, Robinson says. Although some parties have criticized the commission for using incentives to bring new or relocating businesses to Sarasota County, Robinson defends that action. (Full story here) AT A GLANCE

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