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Date of Issue: December 02, 2009

Cortez, Bradenton Beach to host state meeting

The area’s two waterfronts communities — Cortez and Bradenton Beach — are preparing to welcome others in the state waterfronts program for a two-day meeting Dec. 7-8.

On a quarterly schedule, participants in the Waterfronts Florida Program gather for a two-day meeting for training sessions, discussions and to explore a waterfronts community, a state designation awarded to cities though a competitive application process every two years.

“The meetings are intended to accomplish the following: to showcase the accomplishments of the host community in its efforts to protect and enhance the local waterfront; to facilitate knowledge sharing among our partnership communities across the state; to provide information and research on different aspects of waterfront revitalization to folks at the local level seeking to protect their commercial or  recreational waterfront,” said Waterfronts Florida Program spokesperson James Miller.

About 40 people are expected to attend the meeting, which is open to the public, but registration is required. Out-of-town participants are being offered discounted room rates at the Pelican Post Motel in Bradenton Beach.

The meeting, most of which will take place at the BeachHouse Restaurant in Bradenton Beach, will include presentations on low-impact development practices, the role of planning and urban design in creating elder-friendly communities, museum development, environmental stewardship programs, environmentally friendly hazard-mitigation practices and the Florida Scenic Highway Program.

The meeting also will include tours of Cortez and Bradenton Beach, as well as a roundtable discussion on successes and challenges for waterfronts communities.

Cortez became a Waterfronts Florida community in 1999 and Bradenton Beach earned its designation in 2005.

The description of Cortez on the state Web site reads, “Nestled along the shores of Sarasota Bay in Manatee County, Cortez is the last remaining fishing village on Florida’s Suncoast. Still active commercially, Cortez faces a number of pressures as a result of increasing regulation of the commercial fishing industry, encroaching residential development, and incompatible redevelopment interests by outside investors. Unlike many coastal communities that desire tourism-based economies, the village of Cortez remains a family-oriented fishing village where boats can be found on dry docks, where signs still stand in yards opposing the 1994 net ban, and where crab traps can be seen stored under pole barns and carports ready for their next voyage.”

The description of Bradenton Beach states, “Located on Anna Maria Island in Manatee County, Bradenton Beach boasts many accomplishments. With a desire to maintain an Old Florida feel, the ScenicWAVES Partnership Committee is dedicated to the health and vitality of the citizenry and industry of Bradenton Beach. As a city advisory group, the committee makes the preservation and enhancement of natural resources a priority in decision-making, while advocating public and private partnerships, and always remembering history and its role in the city's future.”

Members of the ScenicWAVES voted earlier this year to host the state meeting. The city commission also approved Bradenton Beach’s involvement.

“The information is going to be invaluable,” said city project/program manager Lisa Marie Phillips.

Planning to attend?

Registration for the Waterfronts Florida Program meeting taking place Dec. 7-8 in Bradenton Beach and Cortez is open.

The agenda includes a tour Dec. 7 of the Florida Maritime Museum and Cortez waterfront, lunch at the Star Fish Dockside Restaurant in Cortez, a series of presentations at the BeachHouse Restaurant in Bradenton Beach, then a tour of the city and return to the BeachHouse for dinner.

The agenda Dec. 8 includes a series of morning meetings at the BeachHouse.

For more information, call Elisabeth Salinas at 850-922-1772.