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BRINGING HOME THE BID The sign welcomes visitors to the world-class rowing venue at Benderson Park. Photo by Norman Schimmel BENDERSON PARK SCORES THE 2017 WORLD ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS; NOW THE FUNDRAISING BEGINS IN EARNEST By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor Twelve and a half months ago, Paul Blackketter — at that time, executive director of planning for Benderson Development Co. Inc. — drove the chairwoman of the Sarasota County Commission and a trio of tagalong journalists all over Benderson Park. As he stopped at various points, Blackketter referenced artist's renderings on his iPad, showing where various structures would be located when both the rowing and running facilities were completed. hired by Benderson Development to scoop out the 2,000-meter area of the park's borrow pit transformed into a lake. The project was necessary to achieve the 3.5-meter depth required for international rowing competitions. That same day — Aug. 10, 2012 — Blackketter said he hoped that in about five years he would see the park host the first World Rowing Championships in the United States since the 1990s. After all, since March 2009 — following BendReporters, a photographer and a cameraman erson Park's first rowing regatta — Blackketearlier had swarmed all over a 150-foot-long ter had been traveling the world, visiting all dredge owned by a Kansas City, MO, firm the finest rowing venues to learn what worked

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