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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 linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc2j7gyioaI&feature=youtu.be
Creating Together Toolkit linkhttps://simplebooklet.com/publish.php?wpKey=NyRMb7E1puOecZhVAgGtHC#page=0

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 http://RealizeBradenton.com/Initiatives

This Week’s Music In The Park And Bradenton Farmers’ Market Are Canceled

Realize Bradenton strives to keep our community healthy and happy. Following Governor DeSantis’ request that cities and counties postpone or cancel mass gatherings, Realize Bradenton has canceled the first concert of Music in the Park, scheduled for Friday, March 13, 2020; and the upcoming Bradenton Farmers’ Market, scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2020.

“This decision was not taken lightly. We recognize our musicians and market vendors rely on the concerts and the farmers’ market for their financial health; however, we feel this is the right decision for the wellbeing of the entire community,” said Johnette Isham, Executive Director of Realize Bradenton. “We will continue to evaluate whether further events will occur as new information becomes available.”

Updated information on all Realize Bradenton events will be posted on RealizeBradenton.com/Events and Facebook.com/RealizeBradenton.

Realize Bradenton encourages everyone to support proactive efforts that prevent the further spread of any illnesses. Follow CDC.gov for the latest updates.

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About Realize Bradenton
Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that promotes redevelopment and economic growth in downtown Bradenton by transforming places, engaging people, and realizing possibilities. For more information visit: RealizeBradenton.com.

Dominique LeClezio elected to serve on the Realize Bradenton Board of Directors

Realize Bradenton Announces Feld Entertainment VP of Creative and Marketing Services,
Dominique LeClezio, to serve a three-year term on Board of Directors.

Realize Bradenton, a nonprofit organization that brings people together, is pleased to welcome Dominique LeClezio, Vice President of Creative and Marketing Services for Feld Entertainment, to serve on the Board of Directors for a three-year term. The Realize Bradenton Board promotes redevelopment and economic growth in downtown Bradenton by transforming public places and engaging people using arts, culture, heritage, and food to build a vibrant, healthy Bradenton.

“We are delighted to have Dom join the Board of Directors,” says Ann Breitinger, Board Chair of Realize Bradenton. “His diverse background in marketing and creative services will certainly complement the work of Realize Bradenton as we continue our focus of place-based economic development by using creative marketing strategies to attracting large and small businesses to the city.”

Born and raised in South Africa, LeClezio has earned degrees in Marketing and Economics and completed post graduate work in Marketing Management. LeClezio earned both local and international recognition for this work on brands including McDonalds, Levi Strauss, Virgin Cola, Volkswagen, and Tervis Tumbler and currently serves as Vice President of Creative and Marketing Services for Feld Entertainment, the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment shows such as Monster Jam and Disney On Ice.

“I am excited to bring a fresh approach to Realize Bradenton Board of Directors,” said LeClezio. “Living in the area since 2001, I have seen the positive results that Realize Bradenton has brought to this community and look forward to engaging with the team and community.”

Realize Bradenton’s current Board of Directors includes Ann Breitinger (Chair), Carrie Price (Vice Chair), Melodie Rich (Treasurer), Ben Bakker, Kim Daglish, Kay Wight, Tom Sequin, Cathy Palmer, and Brad Laudicina.

Step Back in Time

Did you know The Professional Building, formerly known as the Bradenton Bank and Trust building officially opened its doors in 1926? The building is located between Manatee Ave West & 11th Street West and still had an elevator operator until very recently.

Over the years, The Professional Building has been home to numerous businesses, including doctors’ offices, law firms, dentists and accountants. After moving into the building from Palmetto in 1930, the Grimes Goebel Grimes Hawkins Gladfelter & Galvano, P.L. now occupies the first floor. The Professional Building is also home to State Senator Bill Galvano’s 26th District office, located on the second floor. Fun fact: The 1997 film, Palmetto, starring Woody Harrelson and Elisabeth Shue, filmed various scenes on the second floor, standing in as the District Attorney’s office in the courthouse.

To discover more of this building’s history, go to WalkBradenton.com, tap the green GO button; touch the search symbol and type Bradenton Bank and Trust Building in the search bar to learn more. Be sure to check out the narrative history video on the Location Card.

Have you ever trekked anywhere near the 12th Street West and Manatee Avenue intersection and feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven? You’ve most certainly smelled the heavenly aroma of Council’s popular burgers.

Council Smith bought the pool hall in 1936. Smith’s son Lawton eventually took over the operation, and after 80 years of Smith ownership, decided to close up shop in 2016. Fortunately, the popular burger spot reopened in 2017 under new ownership.

If you’d like to taste what locals call the “best burger in town” and learn more about its history, go to WalkBradenton.com tap the green GO button; touch the search symbol and type Council’s in the search bar to learn more. The Council’s Location Card also has a narrative history video attached. Check it out.

The downtown local attraction, Jennings Arcade was constructed in 1926. Some think the Jennings Arcade actually means a place to play video games, however that is not the case.

According to the owner, Mike Carter, “An arcade is a building that has an interior open atrium that provides light from above, down to interior spaces.” Carter acquired the building in 1990 and has worked tirelessly to maintain the architectural beauty of this historical building.

Jennings Arcade is currently home to Fav’s Italian Cucina, the Women’s Resource Center Unique Boutique, Ruff Life Pet Store, Shear Faith Salon & Spa, and Pure Florida Honey Company. You can find them all at WalkBradenton.com. Don’t miss the video about Jennings Arcade found on the Jennings Arcade Location Card.

Have you visited any historical buildings in downtown Bradenton? Email me at blog@realizebradenton.com.

Riverwalk Expansion

The Bradenton Riverwalk is expanding east, which means more walking and biking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. The current Riverwalk was constructed in 2012 and is nestled in the heart of downtown. Known as an “outdoor gathering place,” the 1.5-mile trail is ADA compliant and features an amphitheater, boating dock, skate and water park, and public art.

The Riverwalk will expand eastward toward the Mineral Springs area. Just recently, locals were able to provide feedback through an online survey and public forums. Over 850 people participated and the public is encouraged to attend the upcoming survey results on Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 6 p.m. at Manatee United Methodist Church (315 15th Street East, Bradenton, FL 34208).

If you’d like a sneak peak of what to expect for the upcoming expansion, be sure to stop by the Riverwalk East site on Saturday, April 21, 2018, from 3–6 p.m. for the ‘Park for a Day’ event. Four Millennials were chosen to lead teams of volunteers in order to create four separate ‘park-lets’ (min-parks the size of a parking space) to bring activities that you may want to include in the upcoming expansion.

This is a day where you can see your ideas from the surveys come to life. The four ‘park-lets’ will be made up of temporary materials for you to try out examples of potential park spaces. Sound like fun? You bet. You are welcome to check out the sites and bring your entire family to this free outdoor event.

The Riverwalk East expansion is located at 102 14th Street East, Bradenton, FL, 34208. In case of rain, ‘Park for a Day’ will be moved to Saturday, April 28, 2018, from 3–6 p.m.

Have any ideas for the upcoming expansion? Email me at blog@realizebradenton.com.

Realize Bradenton Announces New Board Members

Brad Laudicina, Cathy Palmer, and Tom Seguin to serve a three-year term on Realize Bradenton’s Board of Directors.

Realize Bradenton, a nonprofit organization that brings people together, selected Brad Laudicina, Cathy Palmer, and Tom Seguin to serve on their Board of Directors for  three-year terms. The Board promotes redevelopment and economic growth in downtown Bradenton by transforming public places and engaging people using arts, culture, heritage, and food to build a vibrant, healthy Bradenton.

“We are delighted to have these three talented individuals join the Board of Directors,” says Ann Breitinger, Board Chair of Realize Bradenton. “Their diverse backgrounds and contributions to our community will allow Realize Bradenton to continue our focus of economic development through attracting large and small businesses to the city.”

A Bradenton native, Dr. Brad Laudicina is an optometrist at The Eye Center, Inc. He earned degrees from Florida State University and Nova Southeastern University. An active member of the community, Dr. Laudicina is a board member of We Care Manatee and the Manatee County Seminole Club. He is a graduate of Leadership Manatee and serves on the Manatee Young Professionals Leadership Committee. He is a member of Florida Optometric Association and Manasota Optometric Association and is the co-founder of the Eye Center Vision Foundation.

Raised on Sanibel Island in Lee County, Cathy Palmer has lived in the Bradenton area for over 25 years. She is a Realtor with the Bradenton office of Michael Saunders & Company and was awarded the Circle of Excellence Award in 2018. Palmer is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine and a Master’s Degree in Education. She is President of her neighborhood homeowners association and a volunteer committee member for Turning Points.

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Tom Seguin moved to the area in 1973. He is the owner of Suncoast Gem Laboratory in downtown Bradenton, which opened in 1986. He attended Manatee Community College and earned his Graduate Gemologist’s degree from the Gemological Institute of America. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Accredited Gemologist Association, Bradenton Kiwanis Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Downtown Development Authority, Manatee Chamber of Commerce, and Manatee Community College Foundation. He is an active member of the Bradenton Kiwanis Club and sits on the Chamber of Commerce Downtown Redevelopment Committee and the Attainable Housing Committee.

“I am proud and excited to serve on the Realize Bradenton Board of Directors,” said Seguin. “I have lived in Downtown Bradenton for 12 years and have seen the positive results that Realize Bradenton has brought to our city. I look forward to assisting in the continued success in making Bradenton an amazing place to live, work, and play.”

Realize Bradenton’s current Board of Directors includes Ann Breitinger (Chair), Carrie Price (Vice Chair), Melodie Rich (Treasurer), Ben Bakker, Kim Daglish, Amber Grace, Jeff Watson, and Kay Wight.

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About Realize Bradenton

Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that builds community and promotes economic prosperity. Bringing people together to realize possibilities and transform public places helping to shape Bradenton as a city where people want to contribute, live, work, and play. Working with our partners, investors, donors, and volunteers, we build a vibrant, healthy, fun community using arts, culture, heritage, and food. For more information, visit: RealizeBradenton.com.

The Magic River Mosaic Mural To Be Installed In Downtown Bradenton

Downtown Bradenton has a diverse, high quality collection of over 60 pieces of public art. The new City Centre Garage will soon be home to a mosaic mural titled, The Magic River.

The Magic River was created by Pittsburgh artist, James Simon. Simon spent time in Bradenton learning about the community which inspired his work on the piece.

James Simon believes public art brings about positive change in neighborhoods and cities, and that community vitality is connected to beauty and art for people. Due to Simon’s dedicated work in communities he has been awarded the “Artists and Cities Award” in 2015 by Pittsburgh’s ACTION Housing as well as the “Neighborhood Leader Award” from the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group (PCRG).

James Simon | The Magic River

The Mural

Clay Together

A diversity of Bradenton residents will work at the ArtCenter Manatee to create ceramic bugs, butterflies, and fish which will become part of The Magic River. On Thursday, June 27th and Friday, June 28th from 6pm – 8pm, approximately 20 ‘apprentice ceramicists’ will learn from artist James Simon and craft ceramics which will become part of his mosaic mural.

Meet the Artist

Members of the community are welcome to meet the artist on Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019 from 10am – 11am which is open to the public on site. James Simon will discuss the inspiration for The Magic River and his creative process.

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About Realize Bradenton

Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that builds community and promotes economic prosperity. Bringing people together to realize possibilities and transform public places helps shape Bradenton as a city where people want to contribute, live, work, and play. Working with our partners, investors, donors, and volunteers, we build a vibrant, healthy, fun community using arts, culture, heritage, and food.

For more information visit: RealizeBradenton.com.

WalkBradenton.com
The City of Bradenton has a diverse, high quality collection of 65 pieces of public art in downtown. WalkBradenton.com which launched in April 2017 and boasts just under 200,000 views, is a responsive website viewable on all electronic devices and features information about pieces of public art, 25 historical sites, and 155 places to eat, shop, play, and stay.

The Village Of The Arts Now Home To Three New ‘Postcards From The Friendly City’

Currently there are 14 public art postcards along the Riverwalk and at Manatee Performing Arts Center, The Bishop Museum, the Manatee County Courthouse and O’Bricks Irish Pub and Martini Bar.

The three new postcards will expand the City of Bradenton’s current public art collection to over 60 pieces of public art, and act as a wayfinding guide to draw pedestrians from the Riverwalk to Old Main Street into the Village of the Arts enjoying unique public art along their walk.

In June 2018 a request for qualifications invited artists to submit their credentials for the creation of new public art panels. The Public Art Advisory Board endorsed the recommendation of the Public Art Advisory Panel to select three artists to create art depicting various aspects of the Village of the Arts. The artists selected for the work include: Tom Casmer, Tim Jaeger, and Mark Mitchell.

The postcards are installed in three locations in the Village of the Arts.  An Homage to the Creative Spirit by Tim Jaeger is located at the corner of 12th Street West and 11th Avenue West, Flora and Fauna by Tom Casmer is installed on the property of Reworked Creations 1227 12th Street West, and Follow Your Bliss, by Mark Mitchell is installed on the property of Ortygia Restaurant 1418 13th Street West.

The entire public art collection can be viewed on WalkBradenton.com, Realize Bradenton’s interactive website that identifies over 60 pieces of public art, 25 historical sites, and 145 other points of interest on a map, and guides users to explore these downtown assets. “With the growing number of quality public art pieces, as well as the Village of the Arts, downtown Bradenton is quickly becoming a destination for art enthusiasts,” said Johnette Isham, Executive Director of Realize Bradenton, “WalkBradenton.com connects visitors and residents with downtown’s public art, historical sites, the Riverwalk, Old Main Street, and over 145 places to eat, play, and stay,” Isham further explained.

Major sponsors of the new public art postcards include Realize Bradenton, Together Manatee, Artists Guild of Manatee, City of Bradenton, and the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The public is invited to a brief unveiling ceremony on Saturday, May 4 at 11:00am at Ortygia Restaurant at 1418 13th Street West. The works of artist Mark Mitchell will be featured at ReWorked Creations Gallery for the entire month of May. 

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About Realize Bradenton

Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that builds community and promotes economic prosperity. Bringing people together to realize possibilities and transform public places helps shape Bradenton as a city where people want to contribute and live, work and, play. Working with our partners, investors, donors, and volunteers, we build a vibrant, healthy, fun community using arts, culture, heritage, and food.

For more information visit: RealizeBradenton.com.

Realize Bradenton And The City Of Bradenton Receive Future Of The Region Award

Awarded by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council in recognition of the joint effort benefiting the local and regional community.

The City of Bradenton and Realize Bradenton received Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s Future of the Region Award on April 26, 2019. The award recognizes the collaboration between the two entities for the Creating Together Project, a community outreach effort to ignite community participation in the planning and design of the Bradenton Riverwalk eastward expansion. The Riverwalk expansion is a new segment of the popular park that currently spans 1.5 miles along the riverfront in downtown Bradenton.

Realize Bradenton Future of the Region Award

“We are extremely honored to be recognized for our collaborative work with The City of Bradenton,” said Ann Breitinger, Chair of Realize Bradenton Board of Directors. “This award highlights the inclusive engagement between Realize Bradenton, the City, and community to create public places that bring people together. Vibrant public spaces serve as beacons for economic activity and meeting grounds for residents, artists, innovators, and emerging talent, ultimately attracting new opportunities and investment to the City.”

“This Future of the Region Award in the category Energy and Economy showcases the work that The City of Bradenton is undertaking between corporate, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders to promote economic vitality,” commented Patrick Roff, Bradenton City Councilman, and Vice-Chair of The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

Realize Bradenton received a grant from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Donor-Advised Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation in summer of 2017 to work with the surrounding neighborhoods and interested members to develop ideas regarding public art, as well as programmatic and physical opportunities for the planned Bradenton Riverwalk eastward expansion. These ideas were then considered by the landscape architect designers at Kimley-Horn to develop the master plan of the park.

With Millennials as part of the core team, community outreach engaged more than 1,400 residents and included inter-generational volunteer teams, a robust survey, community conversations, and “Park for a Day,” a one-day popup event that activated the future park space using resident ideas. The community’s ideas for showcasing arts, music, wellness, storytelling, and history were brought to life on the future site of the park through temporary materials. Observations by local professionals were then integrated into the physical and programmatic design of the new public space.

The success of this project led Realize Bradenton to create a toolkit to share the “Creating Together, Principals of Placemaking in Action” process with other communities interested in community-guided placemaking.

Visit: http://bit.ly/2GLITx8

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About The City of Bradenton

Bradenton is a Florida city of 53,000 residents on the Manatee River, south of Tampa. The Bishop Museum has natural and cultural history exhibits. The nearby Riverwalk park stretches along the water, home of Manatee Performing Arts Center and ArtCenter Manatee. Galleries, studios, and shops occupy colorfully restored 1920s and ‘30s cottages in the Village of the Arts.

For more information visit: CityofBradenton.com.

About Realize Bradenton

Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that builds community and promotes economic prosperity. Bringing people together to realize possibilities and transform public places helps shape Bradenton as a city where people want to contribute and live, work and play. Working with our partners, investors, donors, and volunteers, we build a vibrant, healthy, fun community using arts, culture, heritage, and food.

For more information visit: RealizeBradenton.com.

Children’s Book Fair and Family Fun Day Return to the Bradenton Farmers’ Market

The fifth annual, free event includes book signings with local children’s book authors, live storytelling, and other family activities.

The Children’s Book Fair and Family Fun Day returns to the Bradenton Farmers’ Market, Saturday, April 6, 9am–2pm, on Old Main Street, between Manatee Ave W. and 3rd Ave W. in downtown Bradenton. The free event features sixteen local children’s book authors reading their books at the Imagination Station, vegetable plating in take-home pots, a scavenger hunt, painting with artists from the Village of the Arts, and more.

Children's Book Fair and Family Fun Day

“The market is very family friendly, and the Children’s Book Fair and Family Fun Day only add to the excitement of it all,” said Peg Haynes, the Bradenton Farmers’ Market manager. “Watching the children light up with joy as they participate in the many activities makes it all worthwhile. It is delightful to see these families return to the market in the following weeks to purchase fruits and veggies, and to enjoy the market.”

Activities 

 Patrons are encouraged to bring new and gently used children’s books to be donated to the University of South Florida’s Elementary Education Book Drive for first year teachers.

 The fifth annual Children’s Book Fair and Family Fun Day is a partnership with the Bradenton Farmers’ Market, ABC Artisans of Books, and author Brenda Spalding. Grant support by the Manatee Community Foundation.

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About the Bradenton Farmers’ Market
The Bradenton Farmers’ Market, a production of Realize Bradenton, features more than 30 vendors who offer locally grown fruits, vegetables, plants, organic products, prepared foods, and the work of local artists and craftspeople. Live music, demonstrations by local chefs, and free family activities are also part of the fun. The market, located on Old Main Street, between Manatee Avenue W. and 3rd Avenue W. in downtown Bradenton, is open on Saturdays through May, 9am–2pm. Parking is free and dogs on leashes are welcome. For more information, visit: BradentonFarmersMarket.com.

About Realize Bradenton

Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that builds community and promotes economic prosperity. Bringing people together to realize possibilities and transform public places helps shape Bradenton as a city where people want to live, work, play, and contribute. Working with our partners, investors, donors, and volunteers, we build a vibrant, healthy, fun community using arts, culture, heritage, and food. For more information visit: RealizeBradenton.com.

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