Sarasota News Leader

08/09/2013 & 08/16/2013

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Page 24 of 113

Sarasota News Leader August 9 & 16, 2013 Still, Blackketter told the News Leader, "We're confident. We feel that our strongest suit is the partnership" among Sarasota and Manatee counties as well as Benderson Development, which has invested private money along with Sarasota County's $19.1 million for infrastructure to transform the park into an international rowing venue. Page 25 of the FISA Congress, to let them know the importance of the 2017 bid to the community. Blackketter characterized the 136 members of the FISA Congress as "the highest of high levels [of representation] when it comes to rowing." It is very vital, Blackketter continued, for the Sarasota/Manatee delegation members to FISA representatives have noted multiple meet with all of them and convey the details times how impressed they have been with that of the public-private partnership as well as the partnership as local government represen- technical aspects of the venue itself. tatives and even Randy Benderson — president of Benderson — have traveled the world, "Make sure we walk the floor a little bit," was talking with rowing officials, in the effort to how Reid put the lobbying effort. win the 2017 bid, Blackketter added. "We need to make sure we are shaking hands Blackketter has logged more frequent flier and saying, 'Hello,' to all the federations," Hamiles than anyone else in the years-long initia- ley added. tive to learn as much as possible about what "We've got a good plan," Blackketter pointed features are and are not desirable for an Olym- out, "and we think we'll do well." pic-quality rowing facility. Even though "the real work's about to begin," "It's amazing, when you work together, what Haley said, "this is just so thrilling." you can do," Blackketter said. She added, "I think back to when we got toAs he has in past interviews on the subject, gether in October, looking at the [bid] packReid emphasized to the News Leader that age, [wondering], 'How are we ever going to Benderson Park already is becoming known complete this thing. And now we've got it unworldwide as an international rowing venue. der our belt." That burgeoning reputation means tremen- Just before 5 p.m. on Aug. 5, it was evident the dous potential for the county in its efforts to celebratory air had not waned in the Sarasobuild upon the economic potential of sports ta County government offices. Reid sent one tourism, Reid added. more email on the subject to the County Com- THE LAST STOP In just a few weeks, Blackketter, Reid and Haley all pointed out, a Sarasota/Manatee delegation will travel to South Korea for the 2013 World Championships. There, everyone in the group will be working hard to lobby members mission: "A closing thought for the day ….. "In future years could ... 'Sarasota' be to the sport of rowing what 'Wimbledon' is to tennis, 'Indianapolis' or 'Daytona' is to [auto] racing, or 'Augusta' or 'Pebble Beach' is to golf?" %

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