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Date of Issue: June 28, 2007

Pavilion proposal heads to county commission, Island cities

A proposal by the non-profit Legacy Inc. to construct a 2,500-seat performing arts pavilion on Coquina Beach found favor with the Tourism Development Council at its June 18 meeting.

But that's just a dabble of good news for Legacy Inc., whose members include Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie and Island real estate agent Barry Gould.

Next comes the hard part. Convincing the Manatee County Board of County Commissioners to support the proposal - perhaps with some funding - and getting approval from the three Island cities, particularly Bradenton Beach, the city that would be most impacted by such a facility.

Now that the Bradenton Beach Performing Arts Pavilion and Nature Center has the unofficial support of the TDC, the next step in what is likely a lengthy process is to make a presentation to the county commission.

"We're going to have a meeting on how to make that presentation in the very near future," said Gould. Legacy Inc. might decide to visit the Island cities first for support before seeking an audience with the county commission, he indicated.

TDC member and Holmes Beach City Commissioner Sandy Haas-Martens said she believes the pavilion is a great idea. "We like the concept. The pavilion can be used for so many different events outside of tourism."

But the cost of the facility may eventually prove too much of an obstacle. The current estimate of the structure is $5 million. Gould emphasized that Legacy III plans to solicit most of the funding from private sources, but local municipalities could also contribute.