Bradenton regatta is official as U.S. Coast Guard issues environmental permit.


www.bradenton.com

BY MARK YOUNG

myoung@bradenton.comJanuary 9, 2015

BRADENTON — The Formula 2 Bradenton Area Riverwalk Regatta became official Thursday after the U.S. Coast Guard issued an environmental permit, which was the last bureaucratic obstacle for the Feb. 6–7 event.

With less than a month to go until the F2 racing boats hit the Manatee River, the final hurdle was cleared with kudos offered by the Coast Guard. Bradenton Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Dave Gustafson said the Coast Guard indicated the submission was one of the “most organized, quickest and efficient” processes it has seen in three years.

“It’s truly a testament to the entire team who has been working on this,” Gustafson said. “There have been 40 to 60 people working on this event nonstop and we did everything we needed to do to satisfy the agencies involved.”

The permit comes after the Florida Department of Transportation in December approved a permit to close the Green Bridge from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. Feb. 7 — the day of most water and land events.

The only scheduled Feb. 6 event is a Christian concert in Palmetto’s Sutton Park, which has been pulled from the event schedule. Gustafson

said he has about another week before officially pulling the plug on a Christian concert, but organizers are trying to find replacement entertainment.

“I’m still making phone calls,” said Gustafson. “All I can say right now is that I’m doing everything I can.”

The Christian concert helped garner Palmetto’s cooperation in supporting the bridge closure, but there will be some water events closer to Palmetto’s shores Feb. 7.

Also, soon-to-be completed upgrades to the Riverside Park boat ramp and docks will be used by competitors as a dry dock.

All events listed at bradentonarearegatta.com are finalized, but Gustafson said the number of shows performed by some groups depends on raising the final $15,000 in sponsorship money.

“We are a little behind on that, but have raised $385,000 in a short time and that’s a big chunk of change,” he said. “We are still looking for a bank and maybe a boat manufacturer to step in as a sponsor to raise that last $15,000.”

There are still two or three food vendor spots open. The Restaurant Lodging Association is organizing vendors on both sides of the river, but with most at Riverwalk. Gustafson said locations are determined on a first-come, first-serve basis. Vendor applications are available through the Restaurant Lodging Association.

“We are really close to wrapping up all the details,” said Gustafson. “The Bradenton Area Riverwalk Regatta is now 100 percent a go.”

Gustafson said the goal all along was to make the regatta an annual event and the environmental permit was approved as an annual permit.

Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941–745–7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2015/01/09/5570592/braden…

Read the latest local news for Manatee County, Lakewood Ranch, Florida’s Gulf Coast and Bradenton areas in Bradenton Herald and Bradenton.com


Originally published at www.rebelmouse.com.

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