Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Old Campus Could Have New Life as Park | Attorney Suggests Former MTI Campus Be Developed as Athletic Center

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Old Campus Could Have New Life as Park | Attorney Suggests Former MTI Campus Be Developed as Athletic Center

Article excerpt

MANATEE COUNTY

BRADENTON -- Although he lives in the affluent suburb of El Conquistador, attorney Melton Little drives through neighboring Bayshore Gardens and other South Manatee areas daily. The 1979 Bayshore High School graduate says the area where he spent his teenage years, and where he lived in an apartment after law school, is mostly in decline.

"It's awful," Little said. "It's dying."

He points to rental homes neglected by landlords. He mentions numerous retailers that have left vacancies in shopping centers. He cites declining enrollment at Bayshore High. And he especially notices the former campus of Manatee Technical Institute.

"It's dragging down the entire area," Little said of the mostly abandoned property at the northeast corner of 34th Street West and 57th Avenue.

In February 2013, a new campus for what is now called Manatee Technical College opened at 6305 State Road 70 E. Since then, the west Bradenton campus has fallen into disrepair and become a weed- choked eyesore.

Several months ago, noting that southern Manatee County has no facilities comparable to G.T. Bray Park in west Bradenton or even a YMCA, Little started touting the idea of using the School Board- owned site for a park -- a major indoor athletic center with a 2,000- seat stadium for track-and-field events, three gymnasiums seating 300 and an Olympic-size pool with seating for 600.

"This could be a complete game-changer for South County," Little said.

Little pitched the idea at Bradenton Kiwanis and started recruiting supporters. He has 18 members on his South Park Athletic Foundation Board -- including famed tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, former state legislator Mark Ogles, former Boys & Girls Club executive Carl Weeks, Anna Maria Oyster Bar owner John Horne, former National Football League player Robert "Pig" Goff, builder Alan Zirkelbach, numerous Bayshore High alumni and others willing to devote their assorted expertise to the effort.

He envisions a facility that could attract major tournaments and become another sports tourism magnet for the region, just steps away from IMG Academy. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.