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Realize Bradenton Receives American Planning Association Award of Excellence

BRADENTON, FL – The American Planning Association, Florida Chapter, has honored Realize Bradenton and the City of Bradenton with its Award of Excellence in the Best Practices Category for Creating Together: Youth Centered Planning for the Riverwalk East Master Plan.

“This award is recognition of our commitment to engaging the community in positive, meaningful ways – particularly in terms of attracting and retaining talented young people to help shape our city’s future” said Carrie Price, Chair of Realize Bradenton Board of Directors.

In 2017, when the City of Bradenton announced the expansion of the Riverwalk, Realize Bradenton joined with park designers Kimley-Horn to put young people in key leadership roles during the park planning process. Funded by the Knight Donor-Advised Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation, the Creating Together Millennial team assisted in gathering ideas and feedback about what the neighborhood thought was important in the park design.

One of the many outcomes was an event called “Park for a Day” an event where the Millennial team built temporary versions of resident ideas with activities and outdoor focused on nature, music, history, and wellness. Park for a Day attracted more than 100 participants from the surrounding neighborhood to experience a glimpse of the park’s future. One retired neighbor remarked that having young people involved in the process was positive because it “ensures a vital continuation of community, public awareness, engagement, and contribution to Bradenton’s future.” From this, Realize Bradenton published a toolkit based on the Project for Public Space’s principles of placemaking and a video with interviews of the Millennials’ experiences.

This APA Florida Chapter “Best Practices” Award follows the 2019 “Future of the Region” Award for Economic Development from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. Johnette Isham, Executive Director of Realize Bradenton said, “Creating Together Bradenton is a model transferrable to other communities wishing to meaningfully include the younger generation in civic planning.”

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Park for a Day video link
Creating Together Toolkit link

About Realize Bradenton
Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that builds community and promotes economic prosperity to build a vibrant, healthy, inclusive, and fun downtown Bradenton.
Collaborating with the City of Bradenton and an array of partners, the organization promotes the ideal that “Downtown is Everyone’s Neighborhood.” By bringing people together for shared experiences, Realize Bradenton offers initiatives in Business Development, Community Placemaking, Wellness and Nutrition, and Development of Young Leaders. For more information, visit

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